2 R&DMagazine February 2018 www.rdmag.com
With the Future Upon Us, There
Are No Limits to Where R&D
Might Go Next
We finished off 2017 with another successful R&D 100 Conference—held Nov. 16-17 in Orlando, Florida—an event which gave industry, academia and federal professionals from the R&D community a chance to connect and collaborate.
The conference culminated with the prestigious R&D 100 Awards, where for the 55th year,
science and technology pioneers were honored for their exceptional innovations. Both events
left everyone involved optimistic and excited about the future of R&D.
As we kick off 2018, I am struck by how quickly that future seems to be arriving.
Technology is advancing faster than most imagined, as innovations previously seen only in
science fiction start to become reality. In this issue of R&D Magazine, we take a deeper look
at one “futuristic” pursuit—R&D in space—a topic that was explored at the 2017 R&D 100
The microgravity environment offers a unique platform for scientific exploration
and researchers are taking advantage of it to study everything from aging and disease,
to manufacturing and the material sciences. Most of this research takes place on the
International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, which has enabled space R&D
access to a broad range of commercial, academic and government users since its designation
in 2005 as a National Laboratory by Congress.
At the ISS National Lab—run by the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
— researchers have already achieved the impossible, including creating a completely closed,
lab-on-chip system that can be remotely controlled from Earth, as well as the first off-plant
product for a commercial customer. In addition, private organizations like Blue Origin are
working to expand commercial space access by creating reusable and cheaper rockets, moving
toward a future where researchers can go up into space with their own experiments.
In this issue, we also explore next-generation innovations happening here on Earth—from
autonomous vehicles and the logistical challenges that need be addressed before they can be
fully deployed, to cutting-edge ways research organization should manage and utilize “big
The future of our planet is also a key area that those in R&D are tackling, and in this issue
we also highlight a first-of-its-kind toolset that can predict environmental risk performance
of geologic carbon storage sites, and advancements in sustainable chemical alternatives within
the oil and gas industry.
But even the best and most cutting-edge R&D only has the potential to impact the future if
it can successfully move from the lab to the public sphere. This issue of R&D Magazine tackles
that challenge, highlighting what we learned from another key panel at the 2017 R&D 100
Conference, “R&D Technology Transfer Forum (TTF): Unlocking the Potential.”
It is essential that scientific and technological developments are accessible to businesses
and other organizations that can pursue development, robustification, design for
manufacturability and turn the technologies into new products, processes, applications,
materials or services. While there are several barriers to successful technology transfer, this
issue explores how best to overcome them.
Once that final challenge is solved, there will be no limit to what the future of R&D holds.
Editorial Director, Bea Riemschneider
Editor, Laura Panjwani
Digital Reporter, Kenny Walter
Contributing Editor, Tim Studt
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