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NIST Data Set Details Federal Tech Transfer Efforts Since 1987

From NIST Tech Beat: October 13, 2011

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Contact: Mark Esser
(301) 975-8735

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has compiled and released a comprehensive set of data detailing federal technology transfer activities between 1987 and 2009. This report compiles in a single place data from multiple sources.  By releasing the raw, unanalyzed data, NIST aims to further ongoing research to improve the measurement and evaluation of federal technology transfer efforts and, ultimately, to broaden their impact.

The federal government now spends about $35 billion annually on research conducted by federally operated labs, as well as by federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs). A significant portion of that research results in inventions or findings that contribute to the development of new technologies and processes.  Commercialization of these outputs can yield economic and social benefits that increase returns on the taxpayer investment in federal research and development.

The Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 required all federal agencies to make technology transfer part of their mission.  More recent legislation, such as the Technology Transfer Commercialization Act of 2000 and the America Competes Act of 2007, mandated that federal agencies report technology transfer activities. Since 2007, NIST ‘s Technology Partnerships Office has been responsible for preparing reports on technology transfer for the Department of Commerce as well as summarizing the activities reported by federal agencies and FFRDCs.

Since 2001, the Department of Commerce has issued annual reports summarizing technology transfer activities across federal departments and agencies.

The data set details Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), invention disclosures, licenses, patents applied for and issued, and several other indicators of technology transfer efforts. 

The data is available in Excel format at http://www.nist.gov/tpo/publications/index.cfm as “Federal Technology Transfer Data 1987 - 2009, October 2011” under the heading “Federal Laboratory (Interagency) Technology Transfer Summary Reports.”  This site also includes copies of the Federal Summary Reports on Technology Transfer.