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Abstract

The federal government attempts to stimulate technological innovation by allowing performers of federally funded research to license inventions created with federal funds to commercial firms. The process that leads to commercialization of these inventions is called technology transfer. By better understanding technology transfer, the government can increase the economic and societal benefits from its investment in research and development (R&D). The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology asked RAND to host a one-day forum on technology transfer developed with federal R&D funding. Forum participants offered their perspectives on issues and best practices related to technology transfer. Among their observations were the following: Federal policies governing technology transfer are working reasonably well and do not require drastic revision. Technology transfer involves a steep learning curve for performers of federally funded R&D. Implementation of technology transfer should be tailored to specific circumstances-processes that work for one industry or institution may not apply to another. Development of education and training tools on technology transfer would be beneficial. Further research is required to develop and improve technology transfer metrics, especially those that measure benefits to the end user.

Table of Contents

  • Summary

    Executive Summary

  • Preface

    All Prefatory Materials

  • Chapter 1

    Introduction

  • Chapter 2

    Overview of Technology Transfer

  • Chapter 3

    Themes from the PCAST Technology Transfer Forum

  • Appendix A

    Conference Agenda

  • Appendix B

    Summary of Technology Transfer Legislation

  • Appendix C

    Measuring Technology Transfer

  • Appendix D

    Toward Finding Best Practices

  • Appendix E

    On-Line Questionnaire and Compilation of Responses

  • Appendix F

    Excerpted Comments from the December 12, 2002, Forum

  • Supplemental

    Supplementary Material

The conference papers described in this report were prepared by the RAND Science and Technology Policy Institute for the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation conference proceeding series. RAND conference proceedings present a collection of papers delivered at a conference or a summary of the conference.

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