Last week in New Mexico, the heads of the state's federal research labs and major universities met to discuss how to implement and accelerate technology transfer programs. This meeting of the Collaborative Research & Development Council was its inaugural summit, called by Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, who is interested in creating new companies in the state based on research and technology from labs and universities. The council also includes members Paul Hommert, director of Sandia National Laboratories, Charles McMillan, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and University of New Mexico President Bob Frank. Other representatives present were from the Air Force Research Laboratory and White Sands Missile Range.
"The idea is to say 'Let's pull the principals together, let's start meeting on a regular basis," Udall told Albuquerque Business First. "Let's push the envelope in terms of pushing ideas into commercialization."
The national research laboratories' efforts at technology transfer have been lackluster so far. One of the main obstacles is the field in which the national laboratories work, which is national security. Commercializing innovations from these labs is difficult for reasons ranging from security concerns to the cost of producing some of them. There are also budgetary concerns that prevent the labs from creating robust technology transfer programs on their own, which have caused universities and others to offer support to help such programs along.