Tuesday, July 9, 2019

INL transfers technology to industry throughout region and beyond

INL’s development of a High-Temperature Irradiation-Resistant Thermocouple, which can withstand temperatures of over 1,250 degrees Celsius, has relied on collaboration with Idaho Laboratories Corp., a company with operations in Idaho Falls.
NOTE: This story appears on the INL.gov website. Having covered INL tech transfer off and on since the 1990s, when I was business reporter for the Post Register, it was interesting to see new developments. 

Technology transfer at Idaho National Laboratory has come a long way since 1980, the year President Jimmy Carter signed the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act, directing national labs to shepherd government-developed innovations into the private sector.

“Our core business has always been trying to get technology out of the lab and into the hands of people who use it,” said Jason Stolworthy, INL’s Technology Deployment director. “Technology advancements often result in profound societal benefit when commercialized, and we work with entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovative companies to turn INL’s innovations to products and services that improve our lives.”

From its inception, technology transfer required a paradigm shift in thinking at the national labs, said Ken Koller, who was a co-director of a former site contractor’s Technology Transfer Group along with Dr. Jane Welch, and is now CEO of Advanced Ceramic Fibers, an INL spinoff. By the mid-1990s, the U.S. Department of Energy incentivized technology transfer in the lab’s management and operations contracts. By Fiscal Year 1997, Idaho’s national lab accounted for seven of the 19 spinouts from national laboratories.

By mid-2019, INL had more than 300 active licenses across the United States. The greatest challenge is making a match between a lab-developed technology and someone who can realize a use for the technology. “It’s like matching a unique piece of art with a buyer,” Stolworthy said. “We have to find someone who understands its full value and potential. Plus, for a technology, they also need to be capable of commercializing it.”

In some cases, companies with INL-licensed technologies have headquarters in places like Virginia, Rhode Island or Texas, but have kept research and development teams in eastern Idaho, near the lab that hatched their innovations. Regionally, six companies in various stages of maturity offer examples of how the lab deploys technology to increase regional and national competitiveness.

To read the full story, follow this link: https://inl.gov/article/idaho-lab-transfers-technology-to-industry-throughout-region-and-beyond/

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