The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (2006) (PDF - 248 KB) calls for BARDA to reach out to stakeholders in industry, academia, government, and other institutions to identify new ideas and resources for accomplishing its medical countermeasure mission. BARDA therefore maintains an active outreach and scouting function with three main components: constant monitoring of announcements, publications and meetings relevant to the field; BARDA’s annual Industry Day conference; and the TechWatch program.
The goals of BARDA’s TechWatch program are outreach to stakeholders across the medical countermeasure enterprise and engagement with them through meetings to discuss their product candidates and technologies and their possible alignment with BARDA’s mission. In order to meet this goal, BARDA developed a web-based infrastructure for organizing such meetings. Organizations can initiate the process of arranging a meeting by providing information and requesting TechWatch meetings via an online form, either at BARDA’s invitation or on their own initiative. TechWatch meetings typically are one-hour, seminar-style meetings with appropriate Program and Technical staff at BARDA’s D.C. offices. TechWatch meetings are informational in nature and not part of the contracting process, but the information exchanged may inform BARDA strategies and the engagement may help organizations better understand BARDA’s priorities and be more responsive to its solicitations.
Since the inception of the program in 2007, approximately 750 TechWatch meetings have been held and interest in the program has steadily grown. On average, approximately 150 meeting requests are received each year and about 100 full TechWatch meetings are held. During the recent Ebola emergency, a spike of approximately 80 Ebola-related requests were received on top of the normal volume, and almost 60 additional full TechWatch meeting were held. The ongoing success of the TechWatch Program will ensure that BARDA meets its statutory directive to engage fully with its stakeholders. TechWatch continues to be a key piece in BARDA’s engagement function during routine and emergency operations, and it will remain integral to the success of BARDA’s mission.