R&D Technology Transfer Forum: Unlocking the Potential (Part 1)

Friday, November 17, 11:15 - 11:45 AM

The federal science and technology budget is sizeable—some $135B of public funds are invested annually to improve security, create jobs, develop higher standards of living, and unlock new discoveries that serve as a foundation for future innovations. The majority of the national investment in S&T today is by the private sector.

These circumstances present an opportunity to leverage successes in transferring technologies from the government to the private sector. This will generate a higher return for public funds by creating an environment where we encourage, seek and maximize prospects for transfer.

Approaches to overcome the obstacles and barriers encountered with such technology transfers are now practiced routinely. This special panel session—presented in four individual topic sections—will explore some of these processes as well as highlight ways in which to minimize the potential for roadblocks.

Unlocking the Potential for Technology Transition from Federally Funded R&D

Facilitator: Vicki A. Barbur, PhD, Technology Transfer Office, The MITRE Corporation

Government Laboratories, National Laboratories, University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs) and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) are expected to return value to the nation by making their relevant inventions available to commercial industry as appropriate. This transfer of knowledge and technology to both government and the public is especially important when the underlying innovation has been generated through government funding.

This presentation will discuss the elements of technology transfer and outline some of the approaches that MITRE has used successfully, including the development of and collaboration with “Innovation Bridges.” For example, MITRE works with Innovation Accelerators, Incubators and Technical Hubs to discover and bring to bear innovations that could benefit government agencies and help connect startup companies with relevant government partners.

Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited. Case Number 17-2565. ©2017 The MITRE Corporation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Challenges of IP Licensing and Legal Constraints

Daniel Lockney, Technology Transfer Program Executive, Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters

Technology transfer is enhanced by stronger levels of patent protection, while acknowledging the necessity of complementary factors such as infrastructure, effective government policies and regulations, knowledge institutions, access to funding and venture capital, skilled human capital and networks for research collaboration. Strategically negotiated technology transfer and licensing agreements can help minimize the risks inherent in technology transfers. Counsel typically include provisions that define IP rights, trade secret protection, ownership of any jointly developed IP, rights to improvements, indemnity, limitations on liability and other key clauses in the agreements to establish each party’s rights and obligations and minimize the potential for future disputes.

Commercialization Challenges With Technology Transfer

Michael J. Paulus, PhD, Director, Technology Transfer, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The license agreement is only the first step in commercializing a technology developed with federal funds. These technologies are often in their early stages, and a licensee will often need to perform additional research and development in addition to building out manufacturing, sales and distribution channels.

An array of resources can be available for licensees, particularly small businesses, to help accelerate the development and commercialization of federally funded technologies. These resources include Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards, access to the National Laboratories, business and technical mentoring networks, business plan competitions and small business incubators. This section will explore these resources and the challenges and opportunities associated with commercializing federally funded technologies.

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