Agreement For Commercializing Technology (ACT)

scienceTechnology transfer has always been a vital part of the mission of the DOE labs. Now DOE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and seven other DOE national labs are piloting a new mechanism for partnering with the commercial sector: the Agreement for Commercializing Technology or ACT.

The goal for ACT is to provide partner-friendly agreements, increase private sector engagement with the national labs and increase the transfer of research results to the marketplace. ACT allows UT-Battelle, ORNL's managing contractor, to negotiate contracts with business-friendly terms, share the risks, and still protect taxpayers and taxpayer investments.

ORNL needs to mobilize partnerships between the scientific community and industry to make game-changing advances in science, technology, and industrial processes that ensure the continued technological leadership of the U.S. and rapid transfer of the results of research and development to the marketplace, where jobs are created. Numerous mechanisms facilitate laboratory partnerships with universities and private industry [e.g., Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), nonfederal Work for Others (NF-WFO) contracts, and various user facility agreements.

ACT is designed to streamline and speed up agreements with businesses and universities that want to work with  the national labs—to access both their expertise and facilities—but have expressed frustration with the time, payment requirements, government-mandated terms and conditions, and DOE approval process required to negotiate the agreement.

The number of partnership agreements each year—720 CRADAs and 2,273 NF-WFO projects in 2011 alone—is a testimony to the value of the national labs resource and the commitment of the labs (and their partners) to technology transfer and industrial partnerships. With ACT, ORNL now has another powerful tool for flexible engagement with the commercial sector.

ACT at a Glance

  • Contract solely between UT-Battelle and the funding client
  • Commercial terms familiar to industry in private sector
  • UT-Battelle can assume performance and financial risk (and charge an equitable fee for this)
  • Intellectual Property rights can be negotiated between UT-Battelle and the client
  • Government use license limited to research purposes only
  • Speed of execution
    • Contractor can submit approval package in preproposal stages to expedite
    • Preliminary approval in 3 working days
    • Final DOE approval in 10 working days
  • Negotiable payment terms

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