Perry authorizes new strategic partnerships with national labs

Published on November 15, 2017 by Kevin Randolph

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry authorized on Monday National Laboratory contractors to use Agreements for Commercializing Technology (ACT) to enable new strategic partnerships with the national labs, following a successful six-year pilot study.

“Implementation of ACT was driven by the department’s need for more flexible lab partnerships and this administration’s commitment to working with the public and private sectors,” Perry said. “Authorizing a new technology transfer tool will diversify the mechanisms for garnering and maintaining those partnerships, along with removing barriers for businesses and other entities interested in working with DOE’s labs.”

The new initiative makes it easier for businesses to use the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) research capabilities. ACTs give NREL and other labs the ability to attract potential partners who previously may have been unable to do business with the lab, NREL said. International non- governmental organizations, utilities and regulatory agencies, state and local governments, and commercial companies would all be candidates to enter into an ACT agreement, according to NREL.

Perry also authorized a new pilot program called FedACT that expands the use of ACT to enable organizations to partner with the Department of Energy (DOE) National Labs on federally funded projects.

“This pilot will allow the laboratory contractors to develop test cases, explore practices that ensure transparency of ACT terms and conditions, and monitor efficient communication and approvals between the federal sponsor and organization,” DOE said in a press release.

ACT recently enabled the NREL to participate in the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator Program, which provided funding for small businesses to access NREL’s facilities for research, testing, and validation of their technologies. Wells Fargo provided financial services, mentorship, education and products as well as an opportunity to beta test the resulting technology.