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Human Genome News Archive Edition

Human Genome News, May 1991; 3(1)

Moore Calls Tech Transfer Critical to Future

On January 24, W. Henson Moore, Deputy Secretary of Energy, spoke before the DOE Technology Transfer Seminar in Washington, D.C. Some of his remarks are excerpted and summarized in the article below.


The DOE science and technology mission, which encompasses fundamental research, technology development, and technology transfer, is critical to our nation's future. If fundamental research is the starting point, technology transfer must be the finish line. To fulfill our science and technology mission, we must ensure that knowledge moves efficiently up the chain from basic science to precompetitive technology and into the commercial marketplace.

This new emphasis on science and technology has come about for two reasons:

  • Technology is the key to economic growth and global competitiveness in the 21st century. Economic growth is based on the development of new technology, and new technology is derived from basic research. In recent years the United States has fallen behind in applying research for economic benefit.
  • Technology is vital to reconciling our need for energy with our commitment to a cleaner, healthier environment.

We have seen the enormous value of cutting-edge technology in the recent war in the Middle East-a testament to the quality of U.S. science and technology when they are consistently supported. We must all begin to work toward an equally high level of consistent support for nondefense research and development. We must promote an integrated process that encourages the natural evolution of basic science into precompetitive technologies, then into commercial systems, products, and jobs.

DOE, one of six federal agencies that account for almost all government R&D, has enormous resources to accomplish this mission. We have some 35,000 scientists and engineers, 14,000 trained technicians, and a budget of $6 billion this year, about equally divided between defense and nondefense. We must maximize the use of human and financial resources to accomplish technology transfer.

To achieve a dynamic, constructive working partnership between government and industry, we must first get the work of our laboratories better known. Second, we need to stop talking technology transfer and start doing it.

The key characteristics of such a partnership are a more-efficient negotiating process, localized decision making, and flexibility within a consistent framework. Other benefits of this strengthened partnership between government and industry are the following:

  • increased use of joint R&D planning groups, more cost sharing, and expanded mechanisms for introducing the concept of market pull into DOE-funded research;
  • improved intellectual property protection;
  • streamlined administrative processes, like those in the new CRADAs, to speed the negotiation and approval of agreements; and
  • increased interaction among researchers.

Modern technology, much like modern information, is extremely fragile and short-lived.


HGMIS Staff

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