Subcommittee Looks Improve Transfer of Technologies from Lab to Market

Jul 24, 2013

Washington, D.C. – The Research and Technology Subcommittee today held a legislative hearing on innovative approaches to improve the process by which universities and research institutes transfer scientific findings for further development or commercialization, often referred to as “technology transfer.” Witnesses also provided testimony on draft legislation to improve the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.

In 2012, the federal government funded more than $131 billion in research and development activities.  More than half of all basic research conducted at our nation’s colleges and universities is funded by the federal government.

Passed in 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act changed the incentive structure for universities and research institutes to work with commercial entities to license and patent technologies.  The STTR program was created to provide federal R&D funding for proposals that are developed and executed jointly between a small business and a researcher in a nonprofit research organization.

Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.): “Both Bayh-Dole and the STTR program have helped to create jobs and translate new technologies into the marketplace. However, while the rate of technology transfer at our nation’s universities, research institutes and national laboratories has increased since the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act and the creation of the STTR program, I believe we can do even better.”

The draft legislation being developed by Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) will create a program to incentivize research institutions to implement innovative approaches to technology transfer to achieve better outcomes.  The legislation would dedicate a portion of STTR program funding to provide grants to research institutions to help facilitate and accelerate the transfer of federally funded research and technology into the marketplace.

The following witnesses testified at the hearing:

Dr. Brian Wamhoff, Vice President of Research & Development and Co-founder, HemoShear, LLC

Dr. Elizabeth Hart-Wells, Assistant Vice President for Research and Associate Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Purdue University

Dr. Erik Lium, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Office of Innovation, Technology & Alliances, University of California, San Francisco