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A Bridge Between Research and Commercialization

By Marshall Child

 A graphic displaying a bridging together of ideas
Credit: Pixabay

The Technology Partnerships Office is currently designing a brand-new information package to present to the NIST labs and associated researchers to increase informational outreach NIST-wide. This is a TPO priority to better sync up the labs with the technology transfer professionals to further a culture of internal collaboration at NIST. This presentation is parallel to TPO establishing “lab liaisons,” where specific TPO staff are assigned to a NIST lab (Physical Measurement Laboratory, Material Measurement Laboratory, Engineering Laboratory, Communication Technology Laboratory, Information Technology Laboratory, NIST Center for Neutron Research) for the purpose of being a direct line to and from the labs and TPO. In doing so, the lines of communication are quickened and the tech transfer efforts, such as setting up cooperative research and development agreements, material transfer agreements, etc., are streamlined.

During the process of creating the presentation, TPO reached out to NIST scientists and engineers to interview them on their experiences in working with TPO. The interviewing process turned out to be part promotional and part educational to TPO. TPO conducted these interviews for the purpose of encouraging greater collaboration and communication across NIST by gathering insights into how NIST researchers felt about their experience in working with TPO. TPO also received additional feedback from the interviewees on what they would like to see in the future regarding working with TPO and how TPO can better help them. This two-way communication, providing an outlet for the labs and TPO to maintain a dialogue, is a piece of the overall TPO plan to increase consistent dialogue across NIST campus, from Gaithersburg to Boulder.

The presentation will introduce TPO staff and their tech transfer roles, as well as liaison pairings with each lab. It will go on to answer why tech transfer is important and how it benefits the NIST researchers. The presentation will dive into an assortment of tech transfer tools that TPO uses when NIST researchers seek out their guidance and TPO will discuss the nuances between the various agreements and for what purpose each one serves. There will be a breakdown of inventions and patents and the process behind filing for one and knowing when to file for a patent.

Overall, this new TPO presentation seeks to further bridge together research and commercialization, emphasizing the common goals between researcher and tech transfer professional. By opening doors of communication, TPO hopes to build a more solid foundation for commercializing NIST technologies and to encourage the labs to know they can count on TPO when the time comes.

Released September 22, 2021