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White House Directs Federal Agencies to Speed Commercialization

The Obama Administration recently announced two directives to accelerate the commercialization of research and provide small businesses with streamlined access to federal resources. In an announcement, President Obama tied the directives to his administration's recent jobs push, and noted the need to bypass Congress in order to quickly implement the changes. The first memorandum instructs all federal agencies with research facilities to increase research and regional innovation partnerships with the private sector and develop five-year plans. The second calls for the creation of a one-stop shop for small businesses that would give them access to the full range of federal business support services.

The commercialization memorandum instructs research agencies to speed commercialization in three ways. First, agencies are to promote the creation of public-private research partnerships, accelerate the processing of small business research and development grants, and foster university-startup collaborations. The Administration suggests that these changes could speed grants to startups by 50 percent.

The second component is to give agencies more flexibility to partner with private industry. Agencies are directed to use this change to create new partnerships with communities, support regional innovation clusters, and share laboratory facilities with local businesses. The last component requires research agencies to develop five-year plans, including goals and concrete metrics, to increase transparency and accurately evaluate progress. These metrics are to include the number of patents generated by each federal lab.

BusinessUSA, the one-stop shop announced in the second memorandum, is to be a comprehensive resource for small businesses and exporters. The initiative is intended to streamline access to public resources so business owners can avoid a lengthy search for information on the many agency websites. It also will provide access to information about state, local and private resources that are available to startups. BusinessUSA is set to begin operations within the next 90 days, according to the announcement. Learn more...

On the same day the Presidential Memorandum was released, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it would launch a pilot program to provide Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awardees with comprehensive intellectual property support. This support is being offered in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, using the agency's existing small business programs. SBIR recipients will have access to USPTO's new IP Awareness Assessment tool, developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). USPTO also has begun offering educational services through its Global Intellectual Property Academy, which features monthly webinars covering IP topics of interest to small businesses. Learn more...

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Fall 2011
Midwest Region Newsletter
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