The FLC is starting the new year by taking its message global. Executive Director Paul Zielinski discussed the importance of U.S. federal labs and technology transfer in a January 2 video interview with Lab Insider, an online information portal for an international audience of laboratory professionals with an interest in innovation.
Zielinski's conversation with Max Kruk, the website's editor, covered a range of topics that included federal funding of scientific research in the U.S., partnerships between federal labs and private industry, and the FLC's role in facilitating tech transfer.
Throughout the exchange, Kruk used creative analogies to provide perspective for audience members who might be unfamiliar with the U.S. government and its tech transfer system.
"When somebody is looking for an easily available piece of information using a regular research tool like Google, it is not problematic to find data stored in the search engine," Kruk said. "Yet, when it comes down to information that's been pioneered and doesn't necessarily exist in the public domain—I understand that you might be the person to turn to?"
That comparison makes sense, Zielinski said, in terms of finding a potential tech transfer partner
"One of our goals is to manage a great network of contacts to facilitate steering people into the right place," he said. "If you already know who you're working with, you can easily check the given website and contact them. However, if you are not familiar with it, that's where we can provide opportunities and help people. We understand that it is a complicated process - from the outside, it can look rather daunting to try to figure out the workings of the federal landscape for the US.
Kruk also likened the FLC's mission to that of public libraries with regard to the sharing of knowledge.
"You're obviously serving a very noble national interest, the interest of people at large," Kruk said. "What is interesting is that you have a vested interest in these projects succeeding, even though there is no profit."
That analogy—although a bit unusual—is also apt, Zielinski said,
"I think that's a pretty good comparison," he responded. " I don't think I've ever heard that one before, but it's very true. We're trying disseminate knowledge out there into the marketplace."