The problem being solved: The Bayh-Dole Act requires recipients of federal funds to report subject inventions, patenting decisions, and specific commercialization activity. iEdison, the online system developed to facilitate compliance with these reporting obligations, has been used by hundreds of contractors and other awardees to report thousands of federally funded inventions and patents. iEdison was initially launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1995. In 2018, it was recommended that the system be transferred to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The technology solution: The transfer of iEdison to NIST involved a system update based on NIH’s original structure. Improvements and enhancements include a modern user interface that lets awardees indicate whether an invention falls under the original regulatory requirements or the 2018 updated requirements, centralizes the process for submitting requests, and streamlines communication between federal agencies and awardees to ensure accurate records. NIH shut down its iEdison system on August 2, 2022, and the transfer was completed one week later when NIST’s iEdison system launched on August 9, 2022.
The tech transfer mechanisms: The launch of the new iEdison platform was made possible because of the cooperation of the NIST and NIH teams, which worked seamlessly to develop the new system, maintain the integrity and consistency of user data, and ensure a smooth transition for both active users and those whose participation had lapsed. NIST’s development team had the support of their NIH counterparts as they programmed and built the new system. Bethany Loftin of the NIST Technology Partnerships Office managed the transition's Bayh-Dole regulatory requirements and customer support aspects, working with NIH’s Division of Extramural Inventions and Technology Resources team and the NIH communications team. Before joining the new iEdison, every participating agency had to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with NIST. NIST sent out the first MOUs to participating agencies at the end of March 2022 and continues to receive them as more agencies become active in the new iEdison system.
The outcomes: At the time of this award submission, increased traffic flow to the new site following the launch of the updated system was a positive early outcome that suggests future improved compliance. Within the first four days after the launch was announced, more than 1,000 users logged into the system, and many who had not used the system in years contacted the iEdison help desk with questions about how to update their records. This impact is expected to grow over time.
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