Round 2 of the Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize Open

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) recently launched the second Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize. The EPIC Prize recognizes the nation’s most innovative incubators in the field of energy. EPIC awards cash prizes to regional incubator teams that submit the most creative and impactful plans, then implement those plans to develop strong clusters, connections, and support for energy startups and entrepreneurs.  A total of $4 million is available for multiple awards. For more information about EPIC and how to apply see the program FAQ. Proposals are due by October 25, 2022.

New Survey:  Semiconductor Market Hampered by Demand/Supply Mismatch, Lack of Manufacturing Capacity

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) released the results of a request for information (RFI) seeking data on the state of the semiconductor supply chain.

The DoC confirmed that there is a significant, persistent mismatch in supply and demand for chips, and survey respondents did not see the problem going away in the next six months. Median demand for the chips highlighted by the buyers who responded to the RFI was as much as 17% higher in 2021 than in 2019, and buyers aren’t seeing commensurate increases in the supply they receive.

The main bottleneck identified is the need for additional manufacturing or fab capacity. In addition, companies identified material and assembly, test, and packaging capacity as bottlenecks.

The RFI received more than 150 responses, including from nearly every major semiconductor producer and from companies in multiple consuming industries.

Other findings include:

  • The median inventory of semiconductor products highlighted by buyers has fallen from 40 days in 2019 to less than 5 days in 2021 (see Figure 2). These inventories are even smaller in key industries.
  • The RFI allowed us to pinpoint specific nodes where the supply and demand mismatch is most acute, and we will target our efforts moving forward on collaborating with industry to resolve bottlenecks in these nodes.
  • The primary bottleneck across the board appears to be wafer production capacity, which requires a longer-term solution.

DoC urged passage of semiconductor legislation pending in Congress — the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) including $52 billion in funding to support domestic chip manufacturing.  That legislation remains stalled due to disagreements between the House and the Senate as well as a slowdown in annual appropriations across all agencies.

Communicating the Value and Impact of Technology Transfer

The Technology Transfer Society, DC Chapter will be holding an online presentation on how to better communicate the value and impact of technology transfer. A recent article in Issues in Science & Technology entitled Settling for Second Place? by former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine and former NSF Directorate Dr. Neal Lane sounded the alarm that America’s world leadership in science and technology is being challenged like never before.

While many focus on basic and applied research investments, technology transfer and commercialization activities — bridging the technology ‘valley of death’ from scientific discovery to commercial product — have become pivotal to capturing the value of R&D at universities, national laboratories and industry labs. Unfortunately, tech transfer efforts are often misunderstood and poorly resourced at many major S&T institutions. The presentation will address how to better communicate the value of these functions to key decisionmakers to help them better understand the growing value of technology transfer beyond patent licensing.

Investing in Rural Prosperity — New Approaches

Rural communities throughout the United States are vibrant places, with great people, rich culture and heritage, and deep social ties. But recent structural changes to the economy, along with long-term challenges, have left many in these communities at a crossroads, wondering which direction will lead to prosperity for all.

Investing in Rural Prosperity, a forthcoming book from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Federal Reserve Board, seeks to help people living in rural areas navigate the challenges and opportunities they face to reach a future in which economic prosperity is a reality.

Chapter 9 is available in advance on the St. Louis Fed’s website.  It outlines a new framework for fostering shared economic prosperity in rural communities. The authors’ proposed approach to rural development—abbreviated with the acronym “TRIC”—is tailored to the specific goals, assets and organizational infrastructures of communities. It is designed to be resilient in changing circumstances; inclusive about who is at the decision-making table and who benefits from local development; and promotes a collaborative process. The chapter explores each of the principles in the TRIC framework, including their meanings, their interconnectedness and interdependence, and their ability to inform and shape rural development.

For more information see:  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis –  The “TRIC” to Fostering Shared Economic Prosperity in Rural America

White House Releases Nanotechnology Plan

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) unveiled the 2021 National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Strategic Plan on October 9, 2021. The strategy seeks to ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in nanoscience discoveries as well as in translating and manufacturing its products to benefit all of America. In addition to identifying priorities for the NNI to best support the research community in the United States, the plan prioritizes efforts to expand sustainable infrastructure and advance equity in the nanotechnology workforce.

The plan emphasizes the need for specialized nanotechnology research tools and facilities, emphasizing the need to expand and refresh the research infrastructure, and provide access to these facilities for research and industry. The plan also links investments in research infrastructure to the training of the future nanotechnology workforce and continued growth in high-paying jobs.

Tech Transfer Presentation: The Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program

Washington Area Chapter of the Technology Transfer Society (T2SDC) will be hosting an online presentation on the Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from Noon to 1 p.m..

The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program leverages the resources of the University System of Maryland (USM) to help create new products and services that feed the growth of Maryland businesses. Since the program’s inception in 1987, MIPS–enabled products have generated sales of $42 billion.

MIPS provides funding, matched by participating companies, for university-based research projects that help the companies develop new products. The program is administered at the flagship campus at the University of Maryland, College Park, and works throughout the 12 member institutions of the University System of Maryland, plus Morgan State University and St. Mary’s College. In these academic-industrial, public-private partnerships, MIPS connects the resources of the Maryland public universities to businesses from all parts of Maryland.

Presenting will be Joseph Naft, Director of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program of the University of Maryland (UMD).

To register, please go use the following link.

New SBIR Funding Opportunities for Regional Accelerators and Entrepreneurship Development

SBIR/STTR 11 Agencies, 1 Vision: Seed the Future

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has released several funding opportunities to support and promote equitable and inclusive economic recovery for entrepreneurs and small businesses. They include the new Community Navigator Pilot Program, the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and the SBIR Catalyst Prize Competition (SBIR Catalyst).

Established by the American Rescue Plan Act, the Community Navigator Pilot Program will award $100 million to support regional “hub and spoke” networks in providing technical assistance, training, direct financial assistance, and other services to underserved small businesses. The program seeks to leverage the coordinating power of network “hubs” and the direct outreach and stakeholder engagement “spokes” to deliver services to underserved businesses, especially those owned by women, veterans and socially disadvantaged individuals. Award amounts will vary depending on the size of proposed networks and the markets they are able to serve, with total funding ranging from $1 million to $5 million per network. Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESOs) must apply by July 12 — see: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=333792

The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and the SBIR Catalyst Prize Competition (SBIR Catalyst) will provide a total of $5.25 million in funding for impactful and inclusive approaches for supporting entrepreneurs in conducting R&D. The GAFC and SBIR Catalyst Competition is a two-track program. The GAFC track will infuse accelerators and incubators with additional resource capital of up to $50,000 per award to provide focused assistance to STEM/R&D entrepreneurs, including but not limited to support for company formation as well as awareness and education of the SBIR/STTR programs. The SBIR Catalyst program funds ESOs with up to $150,000 per award to act as connectors across current and future programs that fund innovation clusters, hubs, and navigators. Successful proposals will also detail efforts to align federal resources with existing state and local resources, regional strengths and economic growth opportunities. Apply for either track by July 2.

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 transition.

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.