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Published on : Feb 20, 2015

Government innovation has always played a big role in the role of technology in the average American’s day-to-day life. The Internet is a well-known example, so well-known it is now almost well worn. Various NASA innovations have also found their way into the daily life of Americans, right from the memory foam to the heat-accumulating jacket used to comfort shock victims. However, the crucial problem with government innovation has always been its incorporation into the commercial distribution and marketing networks with minimal resistance.

Recognizing this factor, the U.S. Department of Energy has initiated a special office dedicated to the transition of government technological innovation into the commercial sphere. The new office, called the Office of Technology Transitions, will aim to find the most alluring commercial niches for research performed by the agency. The Department of Energy has an expansive network of university research partners and federally funded laboratories where the bulk of the research into new innovations is carried out. The DoE spends more than US$10 billion annually on research projects. The Office of Technology Transition will seek to mediate between industry players, academic, and the DoE’s research faculties, in order to find commercial applications for the research as well as to increase the sophistication of the research performed.

Jetta Wong was installed as a temporary director of the Office of Technology Transition. Wong was the director of the Lab Impact Initiative in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The post of director of the Office will be filled in later, as will the post of technology transfer coordinator.

The new Office will get access to the US$20 million granted to commercialization of research projects in the Energy Policy Act passed in 2005. It will be preparing annual progress reports as well as technology transfer execution plans to be submitted to Congress.