The Federal government invests $150 billion annually in Federal research and development. And the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) wants to make sure the Federal government–and taxpayers–are getting the best return on investment (ROI) possible. To take the temperature of the Fed’s ROI, NIST is using a request for information (RFI) to gather feedback from research stakeholders, including industry leaders and academics.

Earlier this year, NIST and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy were tasked with leading the Lab-to-Market Cross Agency Priority, which is a priority in the President’s Management Agenda. As part of those efforts, NIST on April 19 launched an initiative to improve Federal technology transfer.

“To unleash the innovation power of the American economy, we need fresh ideas for streamlining and accelerating technology transfer,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan during an April 19 event in Washington, D.C. “If we can make it easier for innovative companies and research institutes to work with the Federally funded research enterprise, including our Federal labs and universities, we’ll help foster even more effective discovery and development of new technologies, products, and services for existing and emerging markets.”

According to NIST, the RFI is designed to “gather feedback on the current state of Federal technology transfer and the public’s ability to engage with Federal laboratories and to access Federally funded R&D and facilities through collaborations, licensing, and other mechanisms.” NIST plans to use the feedback to help Federal agencies assess their practices that support public-private collaborations, identify opportunities to increase the government’s ROI, and spur further innovation.

In addition to the RFI, NIST is hosting several events across the country to gather stakeholder experiences, opinions, and recommendations. Events will be held on May 17 in San Jose, Calif.; May 21 in Denver; May 31 in Chicago; and June 14 in Gaithersburg, Md. Registration through NIST is now open for these public forums.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.