FLC News

Tech Transfer in FY 2016 Budget Guidance


Greetings from D.C. Tech transfer is again highlighted in the latest annual budget guidance released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for the coming fiscal year. On July 18, two documents were released that provide guidance to executive departments and agency heads for developing their FY 2016 budget requests (to be rolled out as part of the annual budget process in February 2015). While tech transfer has been included in the annual guidance on science and technology in past years, its mention this year—via the overarching Lab-to-Market effort currently underway—in the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) priorities guidance is new and worthy of note.

The OMB/OSTP memorandum on science and technology (S&T) priorities for 2016 highlights the Administration’s S&T priorities, noting that these priorities will require “investments in R&D; support for activities, such as [STEM] education, technology transfer (my emphasis), R&D facilities, and scientific data collection and management, that enable a robust science and technology enterprise; and cooperation among multiple Federal agencies.” The memo notes that agency submissions should also address “multi-agency research activities” that include advanced manufacturing, clean energy, earth observations, global climate change, IT and high-performance computing, national and homeland security, and R&D for informed policy-making.

The accompanying OMB guidance memorandum on the President’s management agenda priorities notes that the PMA is guided by four pillars: efficiency, effectiveness, economic growth, and people and culture, and is being “executed through eight distinct Management Cross-Agency-Priority [CAP] Goals that fall under these four pillars.” For each goal, areas are identified where agencies should provide additional information in their budget submissions. Further, agencies are encouraged to “continue to invest in these priorities in their FY 2016 submissions.”

The point of interest to the FLC community is CAP goal no. 7, which focuses on the work performed under the Lab-to-Market initiative over the past year. Quarterly progress reports on the CAP goals are posted on performance.gov. The latest report on the Lab-to-Market goal first states that this goal is designed to “increase the economic impact of Federally-funded research and development by accelerating and improving the transfer of new technologies from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace. … [and that this will be accomplished by] streamlining administrative processes, facilitating partnerships with industry, evaluating impact, and opening Federal R&D assets as a platform for innovation and economic growth.”

To that end, five sub-goals are identified that support this effort: developing human capital (e.g., providing opportunities for entrepreneurial education and tech transfer fellowships); empowering effective collaborations (e.g., optimizing tech transfer authorities across agencies to remove barriers to tech transfer); opening R&D assets (e.g., making relevant information on federally funded intellectual property (IP) and federal R&D facilities easily accessible); fueling small business innovation (e.g., reducing undue burdens on small business during award performance); and evaluating impact (e.g., developing better metrics on R&D commercialization). Key indicators and milestone due dates—and status—on these sub-goals are provided.

For more information, you can read the White House memoranda on S&T priorities and the President’s Management Agenda, read an overview and status of the Lab-to-Market CAP goal, or find general information on the CAP goals at performance.gov.


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