A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concludes that the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC), a group of representatives from federal agencies and about 350 federal labs, is not doing enough to promote the transfer of national lab technologies to private sector companies.
According to GAO, although FLC has taken steps to reach out to industry, it isn’t fully assessing their needs or soliciting feedback to improve the tech transfer process.
GAO’s specific critiques include a web-based search tool FLC launched in 2012. The site was designed to help companies identify relevant technologies across hundreds of federal labs, yet FLC didn’t make contact with the private sector first to understand its needs. Once the tool was launched, companies complained about the limited opportunity to interact personally with federal researchers, as well as limited data on all tech transfer opportunities, lack of ability to compare technologies across labs, and little data on the market relevance of available IP.
“Representatives of potential customer groups indicated that there was a significant mismatch between the information that would allow them to identify opportunities and what FLC’s initiatives currently provide,” the report reads.
GAO also criticizes FLC for not setting performance goals and measures to identify initiatives that are working and those that need improvement. Doing so would also more clearly indicate to Congress and the Obama administration how FLC is progressing in meeting its goals.
FLC generally agrees with the report’s findings and claims the web-based tool will be developed further. Given the group’s small budget and staff, GAO suggests it work more collaboratively with agency and lab members so it can better communicate with potential industry customers, solicit more feedback and develop performance measures. E-News readers can access the full report here.
Source: Fierce Government