On Monday the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the launch of the electronic Research Materials catalogue (eRMa) (H/T Twitter). The purpose of the website is to streamline the transfer of technology from NIH facilities to other parties. Not all NIH research that is patentable is currently available, but staff at the Office of Technology Transfer are working to put everything online soon.
Essentially the website serves as a clearinghouse where interested companies can search for technology they would like to license or purchase. It also provides a standardized contract and the ability to pay for research materials online. It also appears to be the first publicized response to President Obama’s October 2010 Presidential Memorandum requiring agencies to establish performance measures for their technology transfer activities and to streamline their transfer processes. As part of this Memorandum, expect a government-wide database coming from the Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer sometime next year.
NIH technology transfer activities account for nearly $100 million in royalty payments every year. With a central clearinghouse to streamline the transfer process, perhaps those payments will go up. Regardless, the streamlining process here and in other agencies (especially in the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs).