CASE: the Center for Applied Science & Engineering, is an initiative of SFIP designed to improve the flow of intellectual capital from New Mexico’s National Labs, research universities, and other institutions in-state and beyond, and into a context of translational research, open innovation, and accelerated practical problem solving. As such, the Center will strive to improve the immediate results of research done at these institutions, as brought to bear on important systemic problems. With an initial concentration on the energy/climate challenge, CASE aims to develop new approaches to this extraordinarily complex and multi-faceted problem, among others.

The CASE program will combine a wide variety of leading individuals and institutions, from multiple domains, supported by advanced creative problem solving techniques and technologies, and a global virtual community. It is designed to produce non-incremental, fully integrated, and highly innovative responses to some of the great problems of our era.

With a Santa Fe base, located mid-way between Los Alamos National Laboratory’s scientific and Sandia National Laboratories’ engineering focus, CASE is intended to serve as a user-friendly interface to DOE and other institutional science, technology, and engineering expertise. CASE will in turn act as the Santa Fe Innovation Park’s primary science partner.

Techniques & Processes

CASE will operate under an open innovation process, supported by advanced creative problem solving techniques and technologies, and SFIP’s trans-disciplinary methodology.

Open innovation has become an increasingly viable model for accelerating progress on complex problems, primarily in the private sector. Design-based strategies, as pioneered by firms such as IDEO and the Doblin Group, have demonstrated the value of applying creative skills to many types of problems.

All of these techniques will be enhanced by state-of-the-art visualization, simulation, and modeling capacity. The will enable rapid ideation, virtual prototyping, and stress testing of multiple scenarios and solutions. Thus many possible solutions to highly complex problems under a range of conditions and factors can be explored and perfected. CASE will in turn become part of SFIP’s multi-disciplinary approach to complex problem solving.

Pre- and Non-Competitive Consortia

CASE can offer additional value by facilitating industry consortia in efforts to establish broad technical standards, and to pursue joint strategic research initiatives. A classic example of this was the original Sematech consortium, which is widely credited with establishing the U.S. semiconductor industry as a global leader in the 1980s (with 13 charter industry members, and Oak Ridge and Sandia National Labs). Similar opportunities will emerge in energy, media, and other domains.