Bipartisan bill looks to turn great ideas into commercial success, improving the economy
Congressman Chris Collins, NY-27, has introduced legislation in Congress to help scientists commercialize their ideas. The idea has the backing of local research universities.
As a member of the science, space and technology committee, Collins is the sponsor of the TRANSFER Act of 2013 (H.R. 2981). This bill builds upon a current program and specifically awards grants to innovative technology transfer programs at universities, research institutes and national laboratories.
Collins made the announcement at the University at Buffalo's Clinical and Translational Research Center in downtown Buffalo.
"One of the most effective ways we can spur economic growth is to assist some of the country's smartest minds in turning their good ideas into a commercial success," he said. "Scientists often need a funding boost to take the initial steps to see if their invention or concept has the potential to be commercialized. Without this critical legwork, a scientist is often unable to partner with a business or an investor to take their idea to the next level."
The TRANSFER Act would provide $50,000 grants, on average. Collins said the bill would be an asset to both research institutions, including UB, and federal taxpayers.
"In 2012, the federal government funded more than $131 billion in research and development activities," he said. "More than half of all basic research conducted at our nation's colleges and universities is funded by the federal government. Grants aimed at helping take ideas to the marketplace will help American taxpayers realize a greater return on their investments, and improve the competitiveness of the American economy. There is no doubt that Americans will benefit from the acceleration of new products, technologies and medicines."
Dr. Robert Genco, vice provost and director of UB's Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach, said early funding of discoveries is critical.
"UB faculty members are more entrepreneurial than ever," he said. "But moving promising research out of the lab and into the marketplace requires dedicated resources. The TRANSFER Act would provide exactly the kind of assistance that our faculty inventors need."
The House science, space, and technology committee recently held a hearing to discuss this legislation and will soon begin consideration for its passage. This bipartisan bill is being co-sponsored by Congressman Derek Kilmer of Washington and has the backing of Committee Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson, also of Texas.
This bill has the support of the American Council on Education, the American Energy Innovation Council, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Independent Research Institutes, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Association of University Technology Managers, Battelle, and SRI International.