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At the Department of Energy, the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) is working hard to track efforts to assist America’s innovation community during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes staying up to date with the work our National Labs are doing to support the national response, so that we can identify and share opportunities to connect and partner with the country’s entrepreneurs, inventors, and creators.

Sandia National Laboratories have mobilized their resources to tackle this global pandemic. The recently launched Rapid Technology Deployment Program offers fast-tracked, free licensing to swiftly deploy technology from Sandia innovators in the fight against COVID-19.

OTT spoke with Sandia’s Mary Monson, Senior Manager of Technology Partnerships and Business Development, to learn more about this new opportunity.

Sandia is the first National Lab to open access to its patent portfolio during this crisis. Tell us a bit more about the newly established Rapid Technology Deployment Program. How does this program differ from the typical licensing process at Sandia? What makes it unique? 

The two primary barriers to technology deployment are money and time. The Rapid Technology Deployment Program is designed to eliminate those barriers to provide a 'fast-track' for licensees. Typically, licensing staff negotiate individualized agreement terms with interested parties. Timelines are dependent on a number of factors and vary greatly, but can take up to two months. Under the new program, licenses can be completed in 2-3 business days.

Sandid Rapid Technology Deployment Program

How will this program help the Labs and business community?  

This program benefits the business community because it removes cost barriers and offers simplified and timely access to cutting-edge technologies, so that companies who wish to produce new or enhanced products, or meet pressing technical challenges in their businesses may do so. It enables licensees to invest their resources into their staff and their operations rather than licensing fees; it also provides an opportunity for companies who haven't yet worked with Sandia to do so. In the process, Sandia can identify new and valuable partners to work with into the future. 

Who is eligible to apply and what technology areas are of interest? 

Any U.S.-based entity may apply. Technologies across Sandia's nine portfolios are available under the rapid license. Developments in biotechnology, manufacturing and supply chain, and cybersecurity may be of interest in the current circumstances, but a broad range of technologies are represented.

What are some key features to highlight of these fast-track licenses?

The criteria set forth for licenses granted under this new program is uniquely geared toward fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and stimulating U.S. economic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. More than 1,000 technologies are available free and non-exclusively to U.S. entities until December 31, 2020.

Beyond the Rapid Technology Deployment Program, how else is Sandia helping in the fight against COVID-19? 

We are presently negotiating 10 Strategic Partnership Projects (SPPs) and CRADAs with U.S. companies who have joined the fight against COVID-19. Sandia has technologies that can be applied to ventilators, manufacture of personal protective equipment (PPE), data models, and vaccines, to name a few. In addition, we are supporting small business in New Mexico who have joined the fight through our New Mexico Small Business Technical Assistance program. 

How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect the Lab marketplace? How can the National Lab community work to support it? 

COVID-19 is challenging us to find our best technical solutions, and the Lab marketplace is a natural place to look for them. Additionally, innovative business practices like the Rapid Technology Deployment Program are needed within and throughout the National Lab community to support industry response and recovery. U.S. taxpayers have funded this research and development; it is our mission to ensure that our leading-edge technology is put to use in this time of need.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------OTT applauds the efforts of Sandia to support our country’s innovators and businesses during this challenging time, and we look forward to sharing much more of the hard work our National Labs across the DOE complex are doing to combat this virus.

To learn more about Sandia’s Rapid Technology Deployment Program, click here.

To learn more about OTT’s most recent coronavirus updates and resources, click here.

Many thanks to Mary Monson and Sandia National Laboratories for their participation in this post.