Sunday, March 28, 2010

RFI to Help Develop Strategy

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council have released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking ideas from the public on how to promote commercialization of federally funded research. The purpose for gathering the information is to not only find ways encourage commercialization of university research, but also to see whether the establishment of “Proof of Concept Centers” (POCC) can be a way to stimulate the commercialization of early stage technologies.

For example, in the information and communications sector, university-based research has played a key role in the development of technologies such as the internet and especially in the life sciences along with the development of new tools to diagnose, prevent, and treat diseases. Innovative technologies can come from not-for-profit research institutions such as hospitals and foundations as well as from Federal laboratories and the private sector.

The federal government funds much of this early-stage research and also provides incentives so that entrepreneurial businesses can bring new technologies to the marketplace. Despite the resources provided, too many technologies fail to cross what is referred to as the “valley of death” when product development goes between the research laboratory and commercialization by the private sector. Transferring viable research discoveries to the marketplace is posing a challenge to innovators and entrepreneurs.

The National Economic Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy will use the input from this RFI to shape the Administration’s future policy on the commercialization of federally funded research.

The goal is to find ways that the federal agencies, research institutions, federal researchers, and the private sector can work together to foster more successful POCCs to accelerate the commercialization of research into the marketplace. Answers are also needed to find other funding resources other than in the federal government, such as in state, regional, or local governments.

Responses for this RFI are to be submitted by April 26, 2010. Information obtained from the RFI will be used only for program planning purposes and does not mean that a binding contract or grant will be issued.

For further information, go to the March 25, 2010 Federal Register. Questions on the content of the RFI can be emailed to with the subject line “RFI Questions”.