Federally funded research dramatically affects everyday life. The Internet, global positioning system (GPS), lifesaving vaccines and many other advances started as federally funded research. Maximizing returns from our national investment in federal research and development is essential to economic growth and to U.S. leadership in global innovation, business development and job creation in cutting-edge industries.
The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 gave NIST federal government-wide responsibilities for ensuring as many taxpayer-funded technologies as possible make the transition from lab to market. This includes analysis, planning, coordination, reporting and general oversight of technology transfer.
A 2011 Presidential Memorandum gave DOC and NIST a leadership role in helping agencies to establish goals, measure performance, streamline administrative processes and facilitate partnerships that encourage commercialization of federally funded research and development. NIST chairs interagency working groups that coordinate federal technology transfer policy development activities, including reporting and analysis of performance and outcomes related to technology transfer.
NIST also serves as the host agency for the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. This leadership position makes NIST the ideal place to develop and implement new programs, further strengthening NIST's role in coordination and cooperation across the federal enterprise.
Proposed NIST Program
NIST requests $6 million to develop and deploy laboratory-to-market strategies that accelerate collaboration and commercialization of federal technologies. Initiative-funded efforts will include the following:
- Enhancing technology commercialization through policies and programs that allow industry entrepreneurs to gain experience at federal agencies; government researchers to work outside of the government for limited time periods; and by funding entrepreneurship educational opportunities;
- Leading cross-agency efforts to streamline, prioritize and promote collaborations and the sharing of best practices between federal agencies and with the private sector at both the federal and regional levels;
- Providing on-line search tools to help industry identify agency facilities and equipment;
- Working with agencies to reduce the time, cost and complexity of executing intellectual property (IP) licenses and streamline IP transfer; and
- Evaluating the impact of federal efforts by developing metrics to assess technology transfer programs and conducting economic studies that estimate the importance of technologies and supporting technical infrastructure within and across different industrial sectors.
NIST's Technology Partnerships Office builds and sustains technology partnering activities between NIST laboratories and U.S. industries; local, state and federal agencies; and the general public.