NIST Reports on Recommendation to Improve Federal R&D Tech Transfer

Dec 21, 2020

by ASME.org

In April 2019, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced the release of a Final Green Paper from its Return on Investment (ROI) Initiative for Unleashing American Innovation, which aims to dramatically increase economic returns from the more than $150 billion per year of U.S. federal investment in research and development across academia, national labs, and private research institutions. The final recommendations touch on many of the areas included in ASME’s 2018 recommendations developed in response to the ROI Effort. 
 
The NIST ROI Green Paper provided a summary of private and public stakeholder inputs received from hundreds of experts and organizations representing thousands of companies, universities, federal laboratories, and other institutions. The document identified 15 findings by NIST to help inform decision-making and implementing actions by the relevant departments and agencies that could further enhance the U.S. innovation engine at the public-private interface.
 
Eight of the 15 findings noted that implementation would require revisions to the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980, 15 U.S.C. 3710 et seq. NIST developed this legislative package through an extensive interagency review and received clearance from the Office of Management and Budget to release its recommendations to Congress for consideration and action.
 
The ROI Legislative Package contains ten proposals that respond directly to findings outlined in the NIST ROI Green Paper, including:
  • Creating limited exception to the prohibition for copyright by federal laboratories for certain software products
  • Extending the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement information protection period from a maximum of 5 years to a maximum of 12 years
  • Permit all agencies to establish non-profit foundations in support of their missions, including their mission for technology transfer as specified in the Stevenson-Wydler Act
  • Update metrics that all agencies are required to report on their Title 15 activities and replace a physical printed annual report with electronic availability of metrics on a more up-to-date basis 
The ROI Legislative Package is available at: https://www.nist.gov/document/nist-roi-leg-package-final-11-20-2020.
 
To review ASME’s 2018 comments to NIST on the ROI Initiative, visit: https://www.asme.org/wwwasmeorg/media/resourcefiles/aboutasme/get%20involved/advocacy/policy-publications/ps18-16-asme-nist-rfi-response.pdf.

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