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White House Wants to Accelerate Federal Research to Market

Mark Marich

Late last week, Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced two Presidential Memoranda intended to help businesses expand and create jobs. In addition to a new web portal,, the administration wants to encourage the creation of entrepreneurial startups by accelerating the movement of research conducted in federal labs into the commercial marketplace.

The initiative is scheduled to begin in May 2012 as the Presidential Memoranda directs agencies to:

  • Streamline and accelerate the process for private-public research partnerships, small business research and development grants, and university-startup collaborations.
  • Develop a five-year plan with concrete goals and metrics to measure progress, including keeping track of how many patents each lab is generating.

The initiative also gives agencies added flexibility to form partnerships to support the growth of regional innovation clusters and share laboratory facilities.

"The United States has long laid the foundation for innovations in industry, but now other countries are challenging us for world leadership," Blank said. With the government spending $147 billion a year on research and development, "the stakes are too high and too serious to be playing political games," she added.

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