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Letter To Secretary Steven Chu, Department Of Energy


Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Luján Applauds Secretary Chu's Appointment Of A Technology Transfer Coordinator

Today, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu appointed Dr. Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) as the Department of Energy's Technology Transfer Coordinator. The appointment follows a letter from Rep. Ben Ray Luján urging action on an appointment. The national Technology Transfer Coordinator will serve as 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.

"I'm encouraged by Secretary Chu's appointment of a national Technology Transfer Coordinator," said Rep. Luján. "With this position filled, I hope that we can move forward in a more aggressive and coordinated fashion to support the transfer of technology developed at national laboratories and educational institutions to the marketplace. Technology transfer promotes economic growth, provides American manufacturers with a competitive edge, and accelerates further innovation."

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), Dr. Edmonds is presently the Director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Technology Transfer in Caltech's Office of Technology Transfer. Her job duties include licensing technologies developed at both JPL and Caltech to industry and start-ups, managing the JPL patent portfolio, assisting Caltech Start-ups, and managing prosecution of Caltech's current patent filings. Dr. Edmonds is also a registered patent agent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Her position as DOE's Technology Transfer Coordinator was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and this is the first time the DOE has appointed a full-time person to fill this role.

On February 1, Rep. Luján sent a letter to Secretary Steven Chu urging him to appoint a national a Technology Transfer Coordinator.

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.

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