A new report showcases how three federal agencies submitted technology research—like patents and papers—that can have a mainstream impact.
2021 saw a large volume of technology transfer initiatives between federal agencies thanks to increased efforts by the Department of Commerce to better disseminate viable technological products from federal laboratories and control for gaps in the research and development space.
Outlined in a new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, technology transfer operations were present across at least three studied agencies: NIST, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences.
This ultimately yielded thousands of peer-reviewed publications and hundreds of new patent filings and applications.
“Technology transfer is a critical component of the DOC mission to create conditions for economic growth and opportunities for all communities,” said Mojdeh Bahar, the associate director of innovation and industry services at NIST. “By transferring technologies to the commercial market, the DOC laboratories help drive U.S. economic competitiveness, strengthen domestic industry and spur job creation.”
Technology transfer refers to the programmatic projects in federal laboratories that ultimately yield technological products and services in the civilian U.S. market. Through Commerce’s Lab-to-Market program, agency leadership examined the efficiency of research and development within federal labs to help streamline technology to the U.S. economy.
Statistical breakdowns of some of the patents toward technological products that were funded by Commerce within the three agencies indicate that technology for telecommunications, nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors and biotechnology were among the more popular areas of development.
Other technical fields that saw patents filed included measurement, optics and computer technology.
Some of the highlights each agency’s laboratory reported are NOAA’s Open Data Dissemination dataset sharing service, an accelerator developed by NIST that measures changes in velocity more accurately than other market devices and NTIA-ITS 3.5 GHz broadband research.
“The report demonstrates that as technology advances and the economy changes, DOC federal laboratories play a critical role in providing the United States with a competitive advantage and bolstering the U.S. economy through the transfer and commercialization of innovative technologies,” the report concludes. “Technology transfer is an essential DOC mission, and the report highlights how well the DOC labs are in position to be competitive in the global markets.”