December 27, 2018

NIST outlines potential “tech transfer” policy changes

NIST outlines potential “tech transfer” policy changes

Animal scientists working on federally funded projects may want to review a new draft green paper from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The paper outlines how NIST hopes to modernize the policies that govern the commercialization of technologies developed with federal funding. According to NIST, the proposed policy changes are in response to the changing R&D landscape.

Background: The federal government invests over $150 billion annually in research and development. Two main laws, the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act and the Bayh-Dole Act, govern how technology developed through federal funding can be commercialized. These acts were passed in the 1980s, so NIST is seeking to modernize their policies and improve the return on federal investments.

Proposed changes include:

  • Clarifying requirements for the domestic manufacture of products resulting from federal R&D
  • Authorizing new and expanded mechanisms for creating partnership agreements and nonprofit foundations that support federal agencies
  • Allowing the limited use of R&D funding for intellectual property protection
  • Establishing technology entrepreneurship programs at federal R&D agencies
  • Clarifying and updating conflict of interest requirements to stimulate greater partnering between the private sector and researchers at federal laboratories and federally funded universities
  • Developing a modern, easy-to-use federal intellectual property (IP) data reporting system to more effectively track IP and streamline regulations
  • Launching a data portal that would provide the public with easy access to the IP and other R&D assets
  • Better tracking of the outcomes and impacts from R&D investments

The public is welcome to submit comments on the report until Jan. 9, 2019. A final version of the green paper is expected in early 2019.