This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

December 14, 2011

Industry to Tap National Labs in DOE Initiative to Cut Red Tape

DOE announced on December 8 a new pilot initiative to reduce hurdles that prevent innovative companies from working with the DOE's national laboratories. The new Agreements for Commercializing Technology (ACT) initiative will help businesses bring job-creating technologies to the market more quickly by allowing them to work with laboratories from start to finish developing and delivering new clean energy technologies and other innovations. In January, DOE will announce the laboratories selected to participate in the pilot.

The ACT initiative will remove barriers for businesses and startup companies interested in accessing the research, facilities, and scientists available at the national laboratories, catapulting innovative new products to the marketplace. DOE's laboratories have a long tradition of working with businesses and academia on scientific research and technology development efforts that have generated many advances, spawned new businesses and supported the creation of new industries and jobs. The ACT framework joins other current DOE legal mechanisms for working with the national laboratories, including the Work for Others Program and cooperative research and development agreements.

Addressing input from industries based on their experience working with the national laboratories, ACT authorizes a more flexible framework for negotiating intellectual property rights to facilitate getting technology from the laboratory to the marketplace. It also allows contractors operating laboratories to partner with businesses using terms that are better aligned with industry practice, attracting more private investment. ACT will allow the laboratories to participate in groups formed to address complex technological challenges that are of mutual interest. See the DOE press release and a list of frequently asked questions on the ACT initiative.