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NIST receives a top Tech Transfer honor

NIST has received the prestigious Interagency Partnership Award for Technology Transfer from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC), our nation’s premier technology transfer network and forum.

The FLC’s many-faceted mission promotes federal R&D, publicizes the contributions of that work to the economy and to societal betterment, and educates and advises federal tech transfer professionals and their partners.

In an announcement issued on January 9, the FLC applauds the achievements of NIST’s joint project with a team from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to modernize and enhance the iEdison platform.  The award also acknowledges and praises the transition of the iEdison system from NIH’s management to NIST’s long-term stewardship.

iEdison is the central platform for reporting and categorizing inventions and patents resulting from federal research and for detailing compliance with domestic manufacturing requirements.  The iEdison platform is a system that responds to the advances in technological research and to the evolving regulations designed to accommodate those advances.

Bethany Loftin of NIST’s Technology Partnership Office (TPO) oversaw and coordinated the task force consisting of nine staffers from NIST’s Office of Information Systems Management (OISM) and eight NIH information technology staffers.

This working group launched the collaborative project in December 2019. NIST’s cohort, consisting of Joe Kau, Hicham Laoudi, Helen Nelson, Jason Poffenberger, Liz Reinhart, Sean Sell, Lei Tong, Yujin Wang, and Aiping Zhang had the support of their NIH colleagues as they designed the platform’s IT infrastructure.  OISM staffers developed the core user interface, researched the requirements of user agencies and non-federal system users, and conducted testing.

Bethany Loftin was primarily responsible for the new system’s compliance with Bayh-Dole Act regulatory requirements and the new platform’s customer support aspects. She coordinated the project’s communications with iEdison user agencies, designed user guides and training videos, and established the system’s future operations guidelines.  

NIH’s Division of Extramural Inventions, its Technology Resources team, and the NIH communications team also handled critical aspects of the redesign and transition, such as data exchange, testing, and sharing the expertise developed during NIH’s 25 years of iEdison stewardship.

The task force’s mission was characterized by intensive analysis of the federal research community’s needs and by shaping the new platform after innovative and thorough testing.

The NIST and NIH teams worked in conjunction for more than two and one-half years, and the challenges they faced were numerous and multi-faceted.  Their work factored in maintaining the integrity of the data in the system, adapting to the differing federal reporting elements which had developed over time, promoting ongoing ease of data handling and customizable report gathering for iEdison users, meeting the demands of the platform’s increasing traffic flow, enhancing iEdison’s tracking and reporting features and ensuring a smooth transition to the NIST-managed platform for its users.

NIST’s role included acquainting participating agencies, laboratories, and research centers with the platform changes and getting them on board.  Each federal agency iEdison participant was required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with NIST before joining the new system.

The new system is flexible and interfaces with federal patent and grants systems, such as USPTO,, and, to automatically update patent information and to auto-populate organizational details and data.

More than 1,000 users logged into the new system in the first four days after its launch in August 2022, and many users who had not logged onto iEdison in years contacted the platform’s help desk with questions about how to update their records.

The new iEdison platform emphatically demonstrates that tech transfer from federal labs to the marketplace benefits societies all around the world and reinforces our nation’s premier place in technology and invention.

The Interagency Partnership Award will be presented on March 29, 2023, at the awards ceremony and dinner at FLC’s National Meeting in Cleveland.



Released February 21, 2023, Updated March 10, 2023