Letter To The Honorable Steven Chu, US Secretary Of Energy
Today, Rep. Ben Ray Luján sent a letter to Secretary Steven Chu urging him to appoint a national Technology Transfer Coordinator to be the Secretary of Energy's principal advisor on technology transfer and commercialization. Technology transfer improves global competitiveness through innovation and helps create jobs by commercializing technology developed in our research universities and national laboratories. By appointing a Technology Transfer Coordinator, the Administration can improve technology transfer efforts. Ten other members joined Rep. Luján on the letter.
"Our national laboratories and educational institutions are recognized around the world for their cutting-edge research and innovation," said Rep. Luján. "The transfer of technology developed at these facilities into the marketplace promotes economic growth, provides American manufacturers with a competitive edge, and accelerates further innovation."
In 2005, Congress recognized the benefits of this injection of technology into our economy and adopted Section 1001(a) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to require a Technology Transfer Coordinator be appointed as the Secretary of Energy's principal advisor on technology transfer and commercialization.
"Targeting investment into our federal technology programs and innovation centers will encourage our national labs and universities to continue their development of technological discoveries," said Rep. Luján. "The public and private sector must then partner and collaborate to forge a clear pathway for the transfer of the developed technology. The Technology Transfer Coordinator's role is vital as this position oversees the funds allocated for technology transfer within the Department of Energy and engages private sector entities in transfer initiatives."
FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER
February 1, 2009
Dear Secretary Chu,
Thank you for your commitment to creating jobs through investments in technology and innovation. Now more than ever, it has become critically important that we talk about growing our economy and preparing for the future. The transfer of technology developed in our federal laboratories and our educational institutions to private industry and various levels of government promotes economic growth, provides American manufacturers with a competitive edge, and accelerates further innovation throughout the economy. Our country is aptly positioned to be a leader in technology transfer and commercialization, and it is imperative that we continue to support federal technology transfer initiatives.
The federal government spends approximately one third of its annual research and development budget to meet mission requirements in over 700 government laboratories. Much of the technology and expertise generated by this investment has applications beyond the immediate goals of federally funded research and development. Results of federal research and development can be used to meet national needs in areas such as clean energy development, computer technology, and medicine. We must explore the potential for applying novel technologies to new industrial sectors, but we also need to actively facilitate the partnership and collaboration between the public and private sectors that are vital to ensuring the success of this transfer.
As you know, Section 1001(a) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires the Department of Energy to appoint a Technology Transfer Coordinator to be the Secretary's principal advisor on technology transfer and commercialization. The Technology Transfer Coordinator's role is vital as he or she is charged with overseeing the expenditure of funds allocated for technology transfer within the Department, as well as efforts to engage private sector entities. However, this role currently remains unfilled. We are writing to you to ask that you appoint a national Technology Transfer Coordinator as soon as possible. The expeditious appointment of a Technology Transfer Coordinator is critical to ensuring that technology transfer activities at the Department are being carried out in the most efficient and effective way. Improving technology transfer pathways will promote job growth and innovation, and the appointment of a Technology Transfer Coordinator is a key step in this process.
Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.