National Nuclear Security Administration

Staff scientists go beyond the lab – transferring technology and boosting the economy

July 12, 2019

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Technology Transfer Working Group’s 2019 spring meeting brought entrepreneurial experts from across the Department of Energy (DOE), NNSA, and the National Labs together at the U.S. Patent and Trade Office in Alexandria, Virginia, to discuss best practices for the strategic partnerships that bring innovations to the marketplace.

With 177 projects at DOE/NNSA user facilities during 2018, those projects had over 33,500 users – including 95 small businesses. And that tremendous impact is only getting bigger.

“You have made DOE one of the most inventive, innovative, and entrepreneurial places to work in the federal government,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “The Department is one of the largest supporters of technology transfer in the federal government. We are a leader in key measures like invention disclosures and invention licenses; patents and patent applications; and income-bearing licenses. We have also supported the most start-ups of any federal agency.”

 You are on the frontlines of America’s future competitiveness, and of advancing our national security and economic leadership.

Dan Brouillette
Deputy Secretary of Energy

Brouillette went on to note the great success our National Labs have had in the world of innovation. This past year, DOE/NNSA won over 30 R&D 100 Awards for everything from an artificial-intelligence-driven cybersecurity technology, to a nanofabrication technique, to a new recycling process for rare earth elements. And the labs are showing no sign of slowing down. The Department is actively engaged in pursuing new opportunities in private-sector partnerships in areas such as artificial intelligence.

 “You are on the frontlines of America’s future competitiveness, and of advancing our national security and economic leadership,” he said.

The Working Group meeting also featured Jason Stolworthy, Director of Technology Development at Idaho National Laboratory, who spoke of the lab’s efforts to orient their research more toward innovation and added-value creation. Stolworthy went on to explain the common set of tools used to analyze and improve ideas.

Participants also took part in overview presentations on the U.S. Patent and Trade Office’s interest in patents and public investment in innovation, updates from the DOE Office of Technology and General Counsel, and panel discussions on vital topics like addressing lab risk, work with the Department of Defense, and adapting to new DOE Office of Science procedures.