Consolidation increases potential tech transfer opportunities

Posted: April 16, 2015 - 1:43pm

In the course of work for the U.S. Department of Energy Consolidated Nuclear Security develops new technologies that may have commercial applications. These technologies are typically born from capabilities developed in manufacturing, material science, safeguards and security, information technology and engineering.

The Technology Development and Transfer program offices at Pantex and Y-12 have consolidated their functions into one centrally managed organization to better promote innovation and growth of the enterprise's scientific and technological resources.

"Although the core work at Pantex and Y-12 is centered on weapon components, the two plants also offer broadly different technologies that can be used in other environments," said Jeremy Benton, Technology Commercialization and Partnerships. "This provides new areas for potential intellectual property and an expansion of the patent portfolio, which, in turn, provides increased opportunity for partnerships with outside companies and organizations."

The centralized Office of Technology Transfer located at Y-12 will manage all intellectual property and the patent portfolio, which will allow for greater efficiency and cohesion in the processing of invention disclosures.

Pantex program manager Gregg Chambliss sees the consolidation as a positive move. "Integration allows for the leveraging of resources and the sharing of knowledge, competencies and skill sets between the sites," he said. "Historically, Y-12 has had an extremely active Technology Transfer program, whereas Pantex has not, but that is about to change, which makes this a very exciting time at Pantex."

Technology commercialization and partnerships are not only monetarily beneficial but also demonstrate that the value of Pantex and Y-12 goes beyond weapons work and provides opportunity for the plants to be recognized for their technical achievements. Another direct benefit is that the program recognizes the technical achievements of the workforce. The program and invention disclosures are also essential to creating a patent portfolio that is attractive to outside companies and organizations where partnership opportunities may exist.

Technology Development and Transfer Manager Tom Berg said, "We hope more partnerships similar to the recent memorandum of understanding between CNS and The University of Tennessee will develop when it comes to technology transfer opportunities. We have already begun establishing formal ties with universities in Texas."