technology transfer

From The Innovation Platform, July 10, 2020: In this Q&A, Mauricio Suarez, Illinois Accelerator Research Center head and Fermilab deputy head of technology development and industry engagements, discusses the development of compact particle accelerators, using accelerators for the environment and in medicine, and commercializing technologies developed for high-energy physics.

Curtis Baffes disclosed his whiffletree flange sealing idea to the Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer in 2017. A whiffletree is a mechanism that distributes force evenly through a system of linkages. Baffes has used whiffletrees to support large telescope optics that would otherwise warp under their own weight.

Anna Pla-Dalmau is a prolific inventor at Fermilab, with several patents to her name. These patents relate to extruded plastic scintillator, which is used in particle detectors. She has explored the extrusion of polystyrene pellets with dopants to yield high-quality scintillator. The extrusion line built at Fermilab continues to produce the material for research institutions around the world.

While “If you build it, they will come” works great for Hollywood movies about things like fields and dreams, they leave out a fundamental step when it comes to an inventor looking for their customers. When an inventor hits on a new idea for innovation, the first instinct to build on the idea, thoroughly design the product and then look for potential customers. The only problem is this instinct doesn’t work favorably in almost all cases. A better way would…

If you’ve wondered whether there was a way you could leverage your expertise and the lab’s resources to assist with a technological problem related to COVID-19, I have good news: The Department of Energy is now providing support for us to do just that. DOE has begun making funds available to national labs to help in the fight against COVID-19. The COVID-19 Technical Assistance Program capitalizes on the labs’ vast expertise to provide support for short-term tech transfer activities that could help outside organizations dealing with challenging technical hurdles.

From DOE, June 4, 2020: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions has announced new resources for innovators to combat COVID-19 through its Lab Partnering Service and the COVID-19 Technical Assistance Program. These initiatives will allow America’s innovators to readily access vital resources and connect and partner with experts at DOE’s 17 national laboratories in the fight against the virus.

Great work! Now that you’ve invented a new technology and understand customer demand, how do you deliver the innovation in the most cost-effective way? In order to address the supply side of business, you’ll have to answer questions such as: Are the components of the invention off-the-shelf or highly customized? What kind of human resources are needed? Do you need to acquire any licenses? While the right side of the Business Model Canvas addressed the demand for a product and…

Jon and Mark are twin brothers. Mark returned to the farm after college while Jon went to graduate school for computer science at the University of Iowa. While there, Jon worked for a year developing an app to help farmers optimize their inputs: water, fertilizer, herbicides, etc. He believes he’s ready to launch a startup. While proudly showing his app to his brother, Jon asked, “What do you think?”  Mark is speechless. He doesn’t want to tell his brother that…

Congratulations! You have invented a new technology that would benefit the world! …Now what? Among your list of tasks will be questions like: Who are your most important customers? How will you get your product to the customer? How costly are your customer relationships? These questions factor into the Business Model Canvas, a valuable template and the standard tool in forming new venture business models. Each section of the Canvas contains its own questions, and the sections have an interlocking…

Bring a cup of coffee (or tea!) and join Fermilab’s patent and licensing executive for an informal discussion of intellectual property on Friday, May 29, at 1 p.m. If you have an idea for an invention or would like to learn more about intellectual property at the laboratory, drop in. Read on for sign-in information.