In his “President’s Management Agenda”, President Trump designated Improve Transfer of Federally-Funded Technologies from Lab-To-Market as a Cross Agency Priority (CAP) Goal. This CAP Goal notes “The Federal Government invests approximately $150 billion annually in research and development (R&D) conducted at Federal laboratories, universities, and other research organizations.
For America to maintain its position as the leader in global innovation, bring products to market more quickly, grow the economy, and maintain a strong national security innovation base, it is essential to optimize technology transfer and support programs to increase the return on investment (ROI) from federally funded R&D.”
The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) are co-leading the Lab-to-Market cross agency priority (CAP) goal. To carry out these efforts, NIST has launched the Return on Investment (ROI) Initiative at an event titled "Unleashing American Innovation" to streamline and accelerate the transfer of technology from Federal Laboratories and federally-funded R&D at universities.
NIST is working in collaboration with public sector, private sector and other Federal R&D, intellectual property, and technology transfer stakeholders to identify critically-needed improvements to Federal technology transfer efforts. NIST is uniquely positioned to implement this initiative through its government-wide leadership role within the Department of Commerce, including delegated regulatory authority and responsibility for annual reporting to the President and Congress.
The overarching vision for the ROI Initiative is to unleash American innovation in ways that will maximize the transfer of federal investments in science and technology into value for the Nation by promoting innovation, U.S. economic growth, and national security and attracting greater private sector investment to create innovative products, processes, services, as well as new businesses and industries. The assessment objectives for the ROI Initiative are to identify:
- Core Federal technology transfer principles and practices that should be protected, and those which should be adapted or changed.
- Approaches to improve efficiency and reduce regulatory burdens of technology transfer to attract private sector investment in later-stage R&D, commercialization and advanced manufacturing.
- New partnering models and technology transfer mechanisms with the private sector, academia, other Federal agencies, State and other public-sector entities to support technology development and maturation.
- New approaches that will reduce or remove barriers, and enable accelerated technology transfer, with focus on areas of strategic national importance.
- Better metrics and methods to evaluate the ROI outcomes and impacts arising from Federal R&D investment.
- New approaches to motivate significantly increased technology transfer outcomes from the Federal sector, universities and research organizations.
Request For Information
To advance the President’s Management Agenda to modernize government for the 21st century, including the associated Lab-to-Market CAP Goal in coordination with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), NIST announced a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register on May 1, 2018 to gather information about the current state of Federal technology transfer and the public’s ability to engage with Federal laboratories and access federally funded R&D through collaborations, licensing, and other mechanisms.
The RFI closed on Monday, July 30, 2018 with 104 responses received. NIST is currently in the process of analyzing the responses and drafting the ROI final report.
Four public forums were held to gather stakeholder feedback and comments: May 17, 2018 in San Jose, CA; May 21, 2018 in Denver, CO; May 31, 2018 in Chicago, IL; and June 14, 2018 at the NIST Campus in Gaithersburg, MD.
ROI Initiative Public Meeting Slides (June 14th)
ROI Initiative Public Meetings Slides (May 17-31)
Analysis and Recommendations
A report will be published summarizing the public comments and recommendations. The report is expected in early 2019; information will be updated here when available regarding public comment on the draft and release of the final report.
The Interagency Working Group for Technology Transfer (IAWGTT)
The IAWGTT was established in 1987 by Executive Order 12591 (link is external), Section 7, to "convene an interagency task force comprised of the heads of representative agencies and the directors of representative Federal laboratories, or their designees, in order to identify and disseminate creative approaches to technology transfer from Federal laboratories." The responsibilities of coordinating the IAWGTT activities, including the Annual Tech Transfer Report to the President and Congress required by the EO and by 15 U.S.C. 3710(g)(2) (link is external), were delegated to NIST by Department Organization Order (DOO) 30-2A (link is external).
The Interagency Working Group for Bayh-Dole (IAWGBD)
The IAWGBD is a working group of tech transfer professionals responsible for managing extramural research activities, including Bayh-Dole policy and iEdison reporting. In consultation with the National Institutes of Health, which manages the iEdison reporting system for inventions funded by federal agencies, the Department of Commerce holds the responsibility for implementing regulations related to the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 202-209 (link is external)). This responsibility was delegated to NIST by Department Organization Order (DOO) 30-2A (link is external).