Administration empowering agencies for more lab-to-market innovation

Monday - 7/7/2014, 2:21pm EDT

By Stephanie Wasko
Special to Federal News Radio

The Obama administration is pushing for easier intellectual property licensing and more private-sector and small-business involvement to propel federally-funded projects into the commercial marketplace.

The government already invests over $130 billion annually into research and development efforts that have brought the commercial world technologies such as the Internet and global positioning systems (GPS).

The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Energy are leading the administration's lab-to-market effort. In a recent update to the administration's cross-agency priority goals, posted on Performance.gov, the agency's will focus on developing more human capital, encouraging cross-agency and cross-sector collaborations, opening research and development assets, fueling small business innovation and evaluating the impact of produced technologies in an effort to reach their goal.

OSTP and DoE are looking to simplify the IP licensing process to save time and money, which will make room for more innovation, according to the progress update. They also are moving IP data along with other federal research and development information to Data.gov in machine-readable formats by the end of this fiscal quarter.

OSTP and DoE met their first and second quarter goals of creating cross-agency working groups for federal R&D projects, according to the report, but the agencies are pushing for more involvement from outside organizations as well.

"Implementation must be informed by engagement with relevant stakeholders, including small businesses, large companies, technology investors, state economic development organizations, universities, researchers and federal laboratory contractors," the report states.

The administration is looking for technology transfer fellows with experience in the private sector to work in research agencies. Goals include enabling and encouraging federal researchers to work outside government for brief periods as well as provide hands-on, entrepreneurial education for students and innovators working on federally-funded projects.

OSTP and DoE are also aiming to make application processes easier for Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer. They plan to post open SBIR and SBTT research opportunities in real time, according to the goals update, and will launch at least one more federal search tool for open solicitations by the end of the fourth quarter in 2014.

The administration wants agencies to increase the priority of R&D commercialization, according to the report, and to continue evaluating and implementing best practices.

Finally, the administration has been evaluating the impact of commercialized federal R&D and plans to develop the framework for economic impact analysis by the second quarter of 2015. It says this will help in setting future lab-to-market goals.

The Obama administration has set new cross-agency priority goals for managing government as part of its 2015 budget. Federal News Radio examines the eight areas identified by the White House in our special report, 2014 Cross-Agency Priority Goals.

Stephanie Wasko is an intern with Federal News Radio.