TRANSFER Act Looks to Close Gap between Laboratory and Marketplace

Aug 2, 2013

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) have introduced technology-transfer legislation to help accelerate the commercialization of federally-funded research and technology. The Technology and Research Accelerating National Security and Future Economic Resiliency Act (TRANSFER) Act (H.R. 2981) builds upon the current Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program by creating grant opportunities for proof-of-concept research and other innovative technology transfer activities at universities, research institutes and Federal laboratories to accelerate the commercialization of federally-funded research and technologies.

This bipartisan bill was modeled after an amendment that Research and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) offered to the 2011 reauthorization of the STTR program. The bill is supported by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (D-Ind.), and Ranking Member Lipinski.

The Science Committee recently held a hearing to discuss the scope and priorities of this legislation.

Congressman Collins: “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.  Grants aimed at helping take ideas to the marketplace will help American taxpayers realize a greater return on their investments, and improve the competitiveness of the American economy.  There is no doubt that Americans will benefit from the acceleration of new products, technologies, and cures.”

Congressman Kilmer: “We need to get this economy moving forward.  We know that more than half of the expected economic growth in the next decade will come from science and technology.  This bill will help innovators commercialize their products and make it easier to get them into the marketplace. Every community in our region – and in our country – has the opportunity to see the growth of new ideas, new investments, and new small businesses.  I’m proud to work across the aisle on an effort to make that happen and get people back to work.”

Chairman Smith:  “Federally-funded research can result in technologies that change the way we communicate, products that grow our economy, and medicines that save lives.  But too often there is a long delay between the research at an institution and getting a product into the hands of American consumers.  The TRANSFER Act helps Americans taxpayers see a greater return on their federal R&D investments.  The bill improves American competitiveness by helping to close the gap between federally-funded R&D efforts and commercialization of new products and technologies.  This means new products, technologies and medicines can be brought to market faster.  And that’s good for both American consumers and the American economy.  I thank Rep. Collins and Rep. Kilmer for their leadership on this important legislation that helps promote American innovation.”

Ranking Member Johnson: “The next great idea with applications in advanced energy, aeronautics, life sciences, and defense technologies could be sitting on a shelf, and this bill will help the academic community and start-ups to bridge the gap between an innovative idea and a commercially viable technology.”

R&T Subcommittee Chairman Bucshon: “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.  However, I believe we can do even better.  The bill we are introducing today will help accelerate federally funded research and technologies that have potential commercial viability into the marketplace.  I would like to congratulate my colleague, Mr. Collins, as well as our other co-sponsors, for their leadership in introducing this bi-partisan legislation that will improve American innovation and competitiveness.”

R&T Ranking Member Lipinski: “I want to thank Rep. Collins and Chairman Smith for their work on this and am proud to join with them as a cosponsor. This bill, modeled on language I wrote for the SBIR Reauthorization Act two years ago, will allow innovators and entrepreneurs to take a promising idea and make the leap into the marketplace, spurring the creation of new jobs and economic development at the local level. I hear from universities all the time that proof-of-concept funds are direly needed to help innovative research ideas with the challenging transition to commercialization. This bill helps to accomplish those goals.”

This bill has the support of the American Council on Education, the American Energy Innovation Council, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Independent Research Institutes, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Association of University Technology Managers, Battelle, and SRI International.

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