White House Looking for Commercialization Advice

Last week the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Economic Council (NEC) released a Request for Information (.pdf) (RFI) on commercialization of university research (H/T State Science and Technology Institute).  Those who have followed technology transfer in universities and related commercialization issues will find familiar material in the RFI, which will close at the end of April 26 (Eastern Daylight Time).

The RFI questions are organized around two basic concerns:

  • Seeking ideas for supporting the commercialization and diffusion of university research.  This would include best practices, useful models, metrics (with evidence of their success), and suggested changes in federal policy and/or research funding.  In addition, the RFI is interested in how commercialization ecosystems can be developed where none exist.
  • Collecting data on private proof of concept centers (POCCs).  These entities seek to help get research over the so-called “Valley of Death” between demonstrable research idea and final commercial product.  The RFI is looking for similar kinds of information as for commercialization in general: best practices, metrics, underlying conditions that facilitate such centers.

The comments received (which can be on any or all of the questions) will help the OSTP and the NEC to shape future Administration policy on research commercialization.  It’s way too early for me to guess where things might go with this, but not too late to spread the word about the RFI.  I do wish they’d stop with the short comment periods…

A Baby Step Forward for the Bioethics Commission

As of last week, visiting the website for the U.S. government’s Bioethics Commission still brought up with material from the Council on Bioethics that President Obama closed last summer.  But that’s no longer the case.  In today’s edition of the Federal Register (H/T The Scientist), the Department of Health and Human Services gave notice that a charter for the Commission was lodged with the General Services Administration on March 10.  No additional appointments have been made, so it’s just a chair and vice-chair at the moment.

The charter doesn’t shed a lot of additional light on the structure and operations of the Commission, as it repeats much of the language from the Executive Order that established the Commission.  There are figures on the estimated budget and staff for the Commission.  Three staff have been appointed so far, and they estimate there will be a total of 10 once the Commission is at full strength.