Event: Expanding Congressional S&T Assessment and Analysis Capacity

On Wednesday, March 17th at Noon, the DC Chapter of the Technology Transfer Society is sponsoring a briefing on the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s efforts to expand Congress’s capabilities in science and technology (S&T) analysis and assessment. Since the demise of the Office of Technology Assessment in the 1990’s, Congress has lacked robust in-house analytical capability to effectively analyze new scientific and technological advances. Rapid developments in S&T are transforming multiple sectors of society. Like all technological change, these developments bring both opportunities and the potential for unintended consequences. The ability of Congress to understand, evaluate, and prepare for such changes is critical for the United States to remain secure, innovative, and globally competitive.

In January 2019, GAO created the Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics (STAA) team to build on and expand its decades-long work providing Congress with S&T analysis. STAA is a large interdisciplinary technical team that advises Congress, generates policy options, and informs legislation on topics in the computational sciences (such as artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics), physical sciences (such as sustainable chemistry and nuclear waste management), life sciences (such as epidemiology of emerging infectious diseases and biosurety of Select Agents), and engineering (such as IoT, 3D printing, and hypersonic systems).

Dr. Tim Persons and Dr. Karen Howard of GAO will discuss STAA’s history, organization, and its technology assessment portfolio.

Click here to register

Measuring Tech-to-Market Success at the Department of Energy

How do new energy technologies get from the lab to the market?

That’s a tough question, especially when it comes to federal research at the Department of Energy. Transferring technologies from the DOE to private companies isn’t always easy. Barriers such as the “valley of death”—a gap between the end of public funding and the start of private funding—can stop a transfer.

The DOE has taken steps to address barriers, such as providing training on transferring technologies. But according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), it could better measure the progress of its technology transfer efforts.

GAO recommended developing performance goals and measures for technology transfers.

Federal Government Requests Information on Interoperability Between Medical Devices, Data, and Platforms.

NITRD logo

The NITRD Health Information Technology Research and Development Interagency Working Group (HITRD IWG) requests input to collect information on new approaches from industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations, to solve the interoperability issues between medical devices, data, and platforms.

Interested persons are invited to submit comments to the Federal Register on or before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on March 15, 2019.

The Government anticipates hosting a conference in June/July 2019 to allow for additional engagement. The results of the conference discussion, in addition to the written responses to this RFI, will be used to determine next steps in addressing federal efforts in interoperability of data, platforms, and medical devices. This RFI is solely issued to engage with interested parties to inform the Government on developing a strategy for medical device, data, and platform interoperability. The Government will not reimburse costs associated with participating in the conference. The Government may contact respondents regarding their submissions, such as to ask questions, to learn more, or to notify them of further developments related to the effort.

Executive Order Outlining U.S. A.I. Strategy to be Unveiled

Several media outlets are reporting that the Trump Administration will issue an executive order on artificial intelligence strategy as soon as today — Monday, February 11th. According to the New York Times, the order does not set aside funds for A.I. research and development, and there are few details on how any new policies will be put into effect. More information on the new order will be posted as it becomes available.

NIST Releases Draft Recommendations to Enhance Federal R&D Commercialization 

In June, 2018, Arch Street participated in a stakeholder meeting at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland as part of NIST’s Return on Investment Initiative, an effort led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to “unleash American innovation” into the U.S. economy with a goal to maximize the transfer of Federal investments in science and technology to:

  • meet current and future economic and national security needs in a rapidly shifting technology marketplace and enhance U.S. competitiveness globally, and
  • attract greater private sector investment to create innovative products, processes, and services, as well as new businesses and industries.”

As part of this effort, NIST has released a draft green paper Return on Investment Initiative for Unleashing American Innovation [PDF] detailing steps to modernize the U.S. system of technology transfer and innovation. The actions outlined in the green paper would help maximize returns on the taxpayer investment in R&D.  The document makes recommendations across five key areas:

1 – Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burdens
2 – Increasing Private Sector Engagement
3 – Promoting Entrepreneurship In Federal R&D
4 – Development of New Tech Transfer Tools
5 – Improved Metrics & Measurement of R&D Outcomes and Impacts

NIST will consider additional public feedback on the green paper by January 9, 2019, via roi@nist.gov. A final version is expected in early 2019.