federal labs

Establishing External Organizations Key to Unlocking Potential of National Labs, Report Finds

To improve private sector partnerships and increase commercialization efforts, the national labs should consider establishing external nonprofit entities to manage their commercialization efforts, according to a new report from Innovation Associates Inc. Supported by Argonne National Laboratory, the report – Enhancing National Laboratory Partnership and Commercialization Opportunities – highlights elements of several models that the author contends will improve U.S. economic prosperity by increasing the effectiveness of technology transfer and commercialization of technologies developed by the national laboratories as well as developing vital industry partnerships.

Support for Federally Funded R&D Centers Stagnate After Recovery Act

New National Science Foundation data indicates that the federal government’s support for national laboratories and research centers has continued to decline in constant dollars after peaking with the 2011 infusion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding.  Six federally funded research and development centers (FFRDC’s) comprise about one-half of all FFRDC spending: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and five Department of Energy national labs. Of these centers, JPL and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory experienced the greatest gains, with budgets increasing by about 9 percent between FY 2013-2014. FY 2014 was the final year for ARRA-based spending, leaving FFRDC support in and uncertain place in the post-Recovery Act period. Read the report…

DOE Accepting Applications for Small Business Voucher Pilot Program

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is accepting applications for the first round of its Small Business Vouchers Pilot (SBV) program. Under the SBV program, the DOE will commit up to $20 million in technical and research assistance awards to help small businesses bring next-generation clean energy technologies. Companies may apply for and receive up to $300,000 in assistance from U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories nationwide. Assistance will be offered in nine topical areas and can range from materials development to modeling to prototyping and scale-up, and much more. 

FLC Seeks Success Stories About Research Partnerships

The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) is looking for stories about successful technology partnerships between federal labs and state or local governments. FLC will select examples from all six FLC regions to be featured on its website and at SSTI's 2015 Annual Conference. In 2013, winners were featured in a publication on state and local partnerships. Read submission requirements...

Federal Lab Consortium Launches Interactive Tool for Businesses

Last week, the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) announced the launch of FLCBusiness, an all-inclusive search database that shares information about funding, equipment, know-how, and resources available from the federal lab network for private and public utilization. In a 2011 presidential memorandum, Accelerating Technology Transfer and Commercialization of Federal Research in Support of High-Growth Businesses, President Obama emphasizes the importance of facilitating tech transfer and commercialization through regional public-private partnerships.  In light of this, FLC hopes that FLCBusiness will encourage technology transfer and increase the competitiveness of U.S. private industries by offering an interactive tool that helps them better understand which resources are made available. Read the press release …

NREL, Wells Fargo Launch $10M Cleantech Innovation Incubator, $2.3M Tech Accelerator

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will administer two new initiatives to bring clean energy technologies to market. Lab-Corps, a $2.3 million pilot program, will build on the National Science Foundation’s iCorps model to accelerate the development of cleantech discoveries and train lab researchers. Wells Fargo launched the Innovation Incubator (IN2) program, a $10 million environmental grant for clean technology startups funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by NREL and the foundation to foster the development of early stage clean technologies for commercial buildings. Read more…

Brookings: National Labs Need Flexibility to Plug into Regional Economies

Observing that legacy policies have hampered the contribution of the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories to the modern innovation economy, Brookings Institution authors Scott Andes, Mark Muro and Matthew Stepp outline a plan to engage DOE labs with regional technology clusters. The authors recommend tasking the labs with an explicit regional economic development mission, as well as opening regionally oriented microlabs that would provide a front door for smaller businesses to access lab resources. In addition, Brookings advises DOE to provide greater flexibility and funding for regional initiatives through the national labs. Download the report…

DOE Awards $3.2M to Launch National Clean Energy Incubator Network

The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the launch of the National Incubator Initiative for Clean Energy (NIICE).  NIICE will serve a national support network for the nation’s clean energy startup community and the incubators that support them. The network will provide technical assistance and training services to help clean energy startups move their products closer to market readiness. It also will help establish a suite of technological and training resources, bring together energy industry partners, enhance incubator best practices, and increase access to information about industry resources to advance innovative clean energy technologies with commercial viability emerging from institutions of higher education and federal laboratories.

Federal Agencies Adopt Open Data Model to Spur Innovation, Entrepreneurship

This week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a wide-ranging roundup of new and ongoing efforts to leverage availability of large, accessible data sets to spur innovation. While many of these efforts were focused on supporting research on the potential of big data, several agency efforts are using the model of open data app competitions to fuel private-sector business creation. One of these efforts, the Department of Energy's American Energy Data Challenge, is capitalizing on successful experiments in big data competitions done at the regional and state level.

Improved FLC Search Tool Delivers Technology Opportunities

Businesses and entrepreneurs seeking commercializable technologies now have a powerful tool to locate inventions developed at federal labs. The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer first introduced its Available Technologies search engine last fall, but now has upgraded the tool with a Google-powered search and user profiles. Users now can create more specific search queries, which can be saved for repeated use. Access the search engine...


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