It's September and the end of the federal fiscal year. That means the FLC, like most of the federal tech transfer community, is reviewing our accomplishments of the past year and making plans for the future.
Anyone who has actively volunteered with the FLC is aware that we as an organization do our planning and implementation by committees. The current FLC Strategic Plan was accompanied by a vote to change the FLC Bylaws to have only three committees formed around our main functions of Promote, Educate, and Facilitate. The FLC also has six Regions that conduct work across these areas to round out FLC’s programs.
For the past few years, the FLC has approved a new Charter for each of its committees that lays out a plan for the year. These charter documents are available on the FLC website.
Looking back, it has a been a busy year. Within the Promote Committee, by far the most noticeable change is the launch of a redesigned FLC website. The old site was built on a now obsolete platform, and a total rework was needed. During phase two of the redesign, the FLC Business site will be upgraded to a new platform; it is expected to launch after the first of the year.
In addition to the website upgrades, the FLC Awards Program was completely overhauled and relaunched. The new Award system moves from having seven separate award programs with different timelines to a single, streamlined nomination and judging process for both National and Regional recognition.
The Educate Committee has been quite busy as well. They have created a new Learning Management System (LMS) that launched with the new FLC website. The new platform is now being further customized to fully provide curated paths to learning for distinct professional areas, with content organized by experience level.
In addition to the LMS, the Educate Committee has rewritten the FLC Desk Reference, which - along with the “Green Book” on tech transfer laws and rules - serves as one of the FLC's primary references. The Desk Reference update is wrapping up now, and it will be launched soon in both online and print versions.
Of course, the National Meeting is a major task for the Educate Committee, and one that was again impacted by the twists and turns of COVID in 2022. While we had a well-attended virtual meeting that got high marks from participants, clearly there is nothing like being in person for networking. We are now planning a 2023 National Meeting in Cleveland, and we have a high level of confidence that we will all see each other there in person.
The FLC is still making the most of recent advances in virtual learning technology, however. We have hosted a steady stream of well-attended webinars focused on learning for the tech transfer professional. Some examples include Material Transfer Agreements, Export Control, and Non-Disclosure Agreements.
The Facilitate Committee has made several big strides with a fully reimagined Industry Engagement Program that takes advantage of the lessons learned from our online meetings. The FLC is hosting a wide variety of events to bring together federal labs and potential partners across different technical areas including water treatment, quantum science and others. In addition to hosting our own events, we have partnered with several organizations to expand our reach and provide federal labs more opportunities. You can check out our partner page online.
Along with these activities, several of our pilot activities have generated some buzz. The FLC Regions have been sponsoring Member Connect opportunities. These informative lightning talks are about 30 minutes long and touch on interesting science and technology related themes. The most recent session focused on the launch of the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships at the National Science Foundation, as authorized by the CHIPs Act.
The FLC is also hosting Lab Showcases that feature our member labs and highlight the work they do. Another great opportunity is the Federal Lab Education Accelerator (FLEX) program. This program facilitates collaborations between federal labs and academic institutions to conduct market assessments of federally invented technologies.
In October, the FLC Executive Board will approve a new series of Charters for the coming year. It promises to be a full slate of interesting projects. To be part of implementing these new plans, please contact us at [email protected]. Volunteers are always welcome!