Source: Federal Times | Aaron Boyd

overnment innovation has led to important advancements in technology that affect every day Americans — the Internet being one of the most visible and ubiquitous. But transitioning federal research into the commercial sphere can be challenging. To help this process, the Department of Energy announced the creation of the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) to find productive commercial applications for the agency’s research.

The department spends more than $10 billion annually on research through university partners and federally laboratories. The OTT will work with industry and academia to expand the uses of this research and spur even more innovation.

The department pointed to successful commercialization of past innovations like solid state lighting, vehicle batteries, solar panels and water purification.

“Through technology transfer, commercialization and deployment activities, the Department of Energy has made significant contributions to economic growth in the United States,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The Office of Technology Transitions will give the department the opportunity to increase the American people’s return on investment in federally-funded science and energy research.”

Jetta Wong, director of the Lab Impact Initiative in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, was tapped as acting OTT director. A full-time director and technology transfer coordinator will be named at a future date.

The new office will manage the $20 million Energy Technology Commercialization Fund, established in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, to “pursue high impact commercialization activities,” according to DOE.The office will also be crafting a Technology Transfer Execution Plan to be presented to Congress, along with annual progress reports.

“The department is committed to helping technologies transition to the market, based on closer collaboration with industry and specifically recognizing the multiple, interlinked connections among different stages of research and demonstration that are needed to reach commercial impact,” DOE said in a statement introducing OTT.