FLC News

Ames taps partner to enhance commercialization of CMI technologies

Ames Laboratory is using its public-private partnership strategy to tackle a perennial research and development challenge— the often long and twisting road to deploying a technology commercially.

The laboratory is partnering with Decision Frameworks, a Houston-based company specializing in Decision Quality enablement, to enhance navigation of the commercialization process for the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Innovation Hub overseen by Ames Laboratory.

CMI’s mission is to address supply chain shortages in rare-earth and other materials critical to domestic manufacturing. Since its inception in 2013, the CMI team of national laboratories, universities, and industry partners has racked up an impressive list of achievements, including 17 patents, 10 licensed technologies, and four R&D100 awards.

The secret to that rapid progress relies on a strategy that is able to prioritize research that is most useful to targeted industries, but also flexible enough to change as markets do. But according to Julienne Krennrich, the Director of the Innovation Partnerships Program at Ames Laboratory, it has resulted in a wealth of technologies in search of licensing.

“It’s an enviable position to be in for any research organization,” said Krennrich, pointing out the more than 120 patent disclosures the hub has filed since its beginning. “But the question then becomes how we best promote our most promising technologies and steer them in the right direction for commercialization.”

The partnership with Decision Frameworks includes a review of the entire portfolio of CMI technologies, selection of a handful to “frame,” creation of market-informed technology maturation “road maps” and development plans, and training to enable inventors and technology transfer professionals the ability to apply the Decision Quality framework to their research and technology portfolios.

“Successful research at the Critical Materials Institute is not the endpoint,” said CMI Director Tom Lograsso. “Successful technology deployment is the endpoint, and through this partnership, we will strengthen our ability to show industry the true market potential of our innovations.”

Funding for the partnership was provided by Practices to Accelerate the Commercialization of Technology (PACT) by the DOE Office of Technology Transitions (OTT). The OTT advances the economic, energy, and national security interests of the United States by expanding the commercial impact of the DOE's research and development portfolio. OTT streamlines access to information and to DOE’s National Labs and facilities — fostering partnerships that guide innovations from the lab into the marketplace.

The CMI is a Department of Energy Innovation Hub led by Ames Laboratory and supported by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, which supports early-stage applied research to advance innovation in U.S. manufacturing and promote American economic growth and energy security. CMI seeks ways to eliminate and reduce reliance on rare-earth metals and other materials critical to the success of clean energy technologies.

Ames Laboratory is a DOE National Laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. Ames Laboratory is supported by the DOE Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

Read more: https://www.ameslab.gov/news/ames-lab-accelerates-commercialization-of-c...

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