At a conference held in Santa Fe yesterday, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) announced legislation to help create high-tech jobs and industries in New Mexico by streamlining the process for getting cutting-edge research and development from our state’s universities and national labs to the marketplace.
Udall unveiled the bill during a half-day conference and workshop he organized at Santa Fe Community College called, “Technology Transfer: Key to New Mexico’s Future.” The event brought together some of New Mexico’s sharpest minds and successful entrepreneurs and investors, including educators and leaders from New Mexico’s national labs. Speakers included former U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, Los Alamos National Laboratory Chief Technology Officer Duncan McBranch and Sandia National Laboratory Director Paul Hommert.
“New Mexico is home to some of the brightest minds in science and some of the most innovative entrepreneurs. From a new ultrasound technology that can be used to screen for breast cancer, to a device that tests for biotoxins, our labs and universities are already a launching pad for exciting – even revolutionary – new products,” Udall said. “If we can harness that potential, New Mexico can lead the nation in high-tech innovation.”
The event was co-sponsored by Technology Ventures Corporation (TVC), the Regional Development Corporation (RDC), and Santa Fe Community College. The conference was divided into three high-level discussions intended to generate an exchange of ideas between all participants regarding the key aspects of technology transfer between research and business. The discussions were followed by a workshop for participants.
“I’m extremely excited and inspired by the level of discussion here today,” Udall said. “My legislation builds on the conversations we had here at Santa Fe Community College and works to address some of the key challenges in the Department of Energy’s tech transfer process. Our goal is to reduce bureaucracy so we can get cutting-edge research and technology from the workbench to the marketplace, leading to a 21st century boost for entrepreneurship and job-creation across the state.”
“Since the Bayh-Dole Act was passed in the 1980’s, New Mexico has always taken a leadership position in technology transfer initiatives. Sen. Udall’s initiative represents a bold new vision of what is possible in technology transfer when the laboratories, entrepreneurs, industry, the investment community and non-profits work together for a common purpose. If the wide participation in this event is any indicator the next 30 years will be very exciting,” said John Freisinger, President & CEO of Technology Ventures Corporation.
“The RDC is thrilled with Senator Udall’s leadership around technology transfer. Our organization works to build partnerships between Los Alamos National Laboratory and local communities to identify resources that can spur our economy. Today’s event is an excellent example of how working together we can find ways to create more high paying job opportunities for New Mexicans,” said Kathy Keith, Executive Director of the RDC.
“Santa Fe Community College is honored to have been asked by Senator Udall to host this critical meeting, “Technology Transfer: Key to New Mexico’s Future,” said Dr. Ana M. “Cha” Guzmán, President of Santa Fe Community College. “SFCC is positioned to train New Mexicans in state-of-the-art programs – such as renewable technologies, solar energy, biofuels – that will support Senator Udall’s vision for the future. Together with our partners in the region, we will continue to position New Mexico as an economic driver for technology and innovation.”
Tentatively called The Technology Transfer Invention, Innovation, and Implementation Act, Udall’s bill is designed to better facilitate public-private partnerships at the federal, state and regional level.
“New Mexico is well-positioned to build on the cutting-edge research being done at the national labs, universities and military installations and turn it into high-tech jobs in communities across our state. But improved coordination at DOE between government and private enterprise is critical to creating successful high-tech industries,” Udall added.
Udall’s bill, which will be introduced into the Senate this fall, tackles the challenges in three parts:
- Permanently authorizes new tools for the Secretary of Energy’s new department-wide technology transfer office to enable DOE to implement tech transfer responsibilities, measure, and report their progress. The Office of Advanced Research Tech Transfer and Innovation in Energy (ARTTIE) will have an office in DOE headquarters, which will be connected to a network of already existing tech transfer offices at each of the national labs.
- Authorizes the DOE to create a new Entrepreneurs in Energy Corps (E2-Corps), modeled after the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps, to support investments in entrepreneurs, mentors, scientists and engineers, who are the key drivers responsible for implementing innovation.
- Adapts an existing public-private partnership model used by the Small Business Administration and USAID for economic development and applies it to technology transfer in a way that realigns incentives to make tech transfer an elevated priority in the Department of Energy’s mission.