Technology Transfer

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Technology transfer is a significant mechanism for DOE laboratories and facilities to engage non-Federal entities to advance the process of technology development and commercialization. Fundamental and applied research at the DOE laboratories has been a conduit for technology transfer, collaborating with university and industry colleagues to develop and commercialize energy products and processes for commercial use. These arrangements leverage resources, providing for collaboration and cooperation between DOE and the private sector. Technology transfer can mean many things – technical assistance to solve a specific problem, use of unique facilities, licensing of patents and software, exchange of personnel, and cooperative research agreements while ensuring fairness of opportunity, protecting the national security, promoting the economic interests of the nation, and preventing inappropriate competition with the private sector.

The Office of Laboratory Policy, on behalf of the Director, Office of Science, works closely with the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) and the Technology Transfer Policy Board to ensure that the robust technology transfer program at the DOE laboratories meets the requirements of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and subsequent updates and related legislation. OTT is headed by the Chief Technology Officer.

There are a variety of mechanisms by which technology transfer occurs at the 17 national laboratories and the five National Nuclear Security Administration production facilities, which can include:

  • SPP – Strategic Partnership Projects (formerly known as Work for Others or WFO), by which an outside entity contracts with facilities
  • Licensing of a facility’s intellectual property
  • Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs)
  • Facility outreach
  • Use of user facilities, for both proprietary research and open research (results published)

Such mechanisms can lead to increased employment and sales, with US manufacturing often a beneficiary.

View the Strategic Partnership Projects Policy in the Office of Science