The Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN) was a key recommendation from the Ohio Federal Military Jobs Commission in 2015. The Ohio General Assembly through the Ohio Department of Higher Education, in 2015, funded OFRN, a program now managed by Parallax Advanced Research in collaboration with The Ohio State University, to create a collaborative research hub designed to expand Ohio’s cutting-edge research capability and create new economic opportunities for Ohio in the areas of defense, aerospace, energy, and health.  To achieve the mission, OFRN catalyzes federal, academic, and commercial collaborations to support the future growth of Ohio’s workforce with a focus on the priority research initiatives of Ohio-based federal and state partners, including:

The OFRN’s approach equipped Ohio-wide research talent and assets to connect, align, collaborate, and transition solutions to Ohio companies. Stemming from this support, Ohio universities collaborate on joint proposal efforts totaling over $350 million through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, AFRL, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Army Research Office, NASA, and the Office of Naval Research. These proposals bring new, critical research dollars to Ohio to support undergraduate and graduate student education and training. 

Leveraging the investment of $51.4 million in state funds, the OFRN has funded research projects spanning 21 universities and community colleges, and 97 industry partners throughout the state. These projects have, in turn, attracted more than $204+ million in new funding for Ohio-based research from both federal and corporate sponsors.  The projects have also resulted in the creation of 8 new Ohio companies spread across Ohio.

In addition to OFRN resources and federal awards, these projects have attracted more than $41 million in industry-sponsored research to advance technologies created by researchers in Ohio academic laboratories. The OFRN also has negotiated a CRADA with AFRL for all OFRN flight-testing to take place at the Springfield Airport. The first flight test took place in September 2020 and was the first step in OFRN’s strategy to ensure Ohio remains the nexus for aerospace as the industry moves to the next generation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and personal air vehicles (PAV).

Going forward, OFRN will continue to:

  • Support its model for rapid technology innovation through accelerating “Research for Development”, working closely with US and Ohio-based industries and growing the US’s and Ohio's talent that can compete nationally.
  • Grow collaboration across the US and Ohio– capitalizing on relationships with organizations like JobsOhio, Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Technology Committee (OAATC), and other statewide and National organizations (Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI), NDIA, etc.).
  • Integrate US and Ohio assets across market and industry sectors to solve pressing commercial and federal technical problems and future workforce needs.
  • Execute challenge grants that attract key external investors and develop university design projects that will integrate capabilities of US and Ohio universities with industry.
  • Develop a response to the critical workforce shortfall in US and Ohio regarding systems engineering.
  • Use the capabilities of other organizations in the state to run key educational initiatives such as the biannual design competition undertaken by OAI.
  • Continue to provide proposal training and market intelligence to improve the competitiveness of US and Ohio research institutes and firms for a broad array of federal and industry-sponsored opportunities.

The OFRN’s model for engagement with academia, industry, and the Ohio-based federal partners has greatly enhanced Ohio’s future workforce competitiveness and has generated greater than a 5 to 1 return on investment. Our intent is to expand this model nationally in collaboration with the USAF.