Honors Gallery

James Poulos

Award: Outstanding Technology Transfer Professional

Year: 2018

Award Type: National

USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) - Northeast Area

James A. Poulos III heads up technology transfer activities for the USDA - ARS Northeast Area. One of five geographic areas of the ARS, the Northeast Area was created by the merger of the Beltsville (MD) Area and the North Atlantic Area in 2014.

Through Poulos’ efforts, the Northeast Area is considered a leader in technology transfer. In the past two years (October 2017 to July 2018), he negotiated 29 Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), and negotiated and signed over 50 Material Transfer Research Agreements (MTRAs). In 2017 he assumed responsibility for the technology transfer efforts of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, and in 2018 was assigned the task of clearing most export control reviews for Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs), CRADAs, MTRAs and licenses for the entire ARS. In FY18 to date, 171 export control reviews have been made, leading to Poulos filing four export control licenses, three of which have been granted and one that is pending.

Outside of ARS, Poulos’ technology transfer activities included participation as a lecturer in an intellectual property training course at the 2018 FLC national meeting in Philadelphia. He also served as the national FLC awards chair from 2011 through 2014.

His leadership efforts in technology transfer can be found in many of the agreements in which he is involved, and the “Transfer of seeds for commercialization” is just one example of those efforts.

Ornamental pepper plants were produced by cooperating labs in Beltsville, and a CRADA was established with a commercial nursery in Georgia to commercialize the peppers. The peppers—named Lil’ Pumpkin, Midnight Creeper and Pepper Jack—have a Halloween-type theme that increases their commercial appeal. The CRADA partner signed a license and because intra alia the peppers themselves could not be propagated as anticipated, the CRADA partner experienced difficulty commercializing them. Through Poulos’ efforts, which included proposing new licensing tools, drafting creative MTAs, and practicing calm and collected negotiations while pushing a reasoned ARS strategy, a second Material Transfer Agreement was signed with a new partner in mid-June 2014. The new partner grew some of the seed in California in summer 2015 and ultimately filed an application for license.

The new partner reported to Poulos in spring 2018 that, “We grew a new crop of each Pepper Jack, Midnight Creeper, and Lil Pumpkin. We look forward to growing out each lot and continuing our marketing efforts. Thanks for your assistance with these productions and licenses. I am happy to send you an update on our final quality grow outs and marketing efforts. Typically, it takes 3 years to introduce a new seed variety.”

Contact: James Poulos, (301) 504-6464, [email protected]