Another group that is likely to join the FLC in feeling direct impact if the paper guides legislative and regulatory changes as the administration desires, includes the private companies and U.S. manufacturers commercializing the results of the annual $150 billion of federally funded R&D. This group should like much of what they see in the final green paper as the series of findings and recommendations enumerated within it are intended to clarify and streamline many aspects of the federal and university tech transfer processes.
In addition to streamlining for efficiency and clarifying for impact, the guidance includes 15 findings grouped across strategies intended to:
- Reduce unnecessary restrictions or barriers for moving federally funded R&D to market and use;
- Create new opportunities for private sector engagement of federal technologies, facilities and lab personnel;
- Reduce public confusion and inconsistent interpretations of existing tech transfer law and regulations by and across agencies; and,
- Improve the government’s future capacity to promulgate rules and changes to intramural R&D, consistent with existing authority within the Bayh-Dole Act governing extramural federal research investments.
Other topics addressed in the green paper are less controversial and more likely to be addressed through legislative proposals and suggested rule changes to be advanced by the administration in the coming months. Among those recommendations that may be of particular interest to the Digest community are:
- Granting agencies the authority to extend information protection in Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) beyond five years;
- Expanding authority allowing all federal agencies greater flexibility and speed in executing newer partnerships agreement tools such as the Department of Energy’s Agreements for Commercializing Technology and to enable translational R&D collaboration;
- Allowing all federal agencies to establish nonprofit foundations to accept private funds to advance technology commercialization;
- Expanding real property outleasing authority to all federal agencies, which could permit locating more commercialization centers, incubators and research parks within greater proximity to federal research installations;
- Enabling the use of awarded federal extramural R&D funds to be used for intellectual property protection;
- Implementing technology entrepreneurship programs within federal R&D agencies; and,
- Allowing federal scientists and technologists to take sabbaticals or paid/unpaid leave for technology commercialization purposes for terms up to three years.