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ORNL preparing for commercialization proposal call for new TIP initiative

ORNL_outline(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a two-part series focused on Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s new Technology Innovation Program.)

By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) new Technology Innovation Program (TIP) is only in its second year, but the initial results are very promising.

Three of the four technologies selected in FY13 have been licensed, according to Mike Paulus, Director of Technology Transfer. More important, ORNL is preparing for a second call for commercialization proposals on the four technologies selected for the second year of TIP.

“We expect that call to be issued in July,” Paulus says. It will include a listing in FedBizOps as well as a notice being placed on the TIP portion of ORNL’s webpage. In addition, ORNL is hosting a series of webinars that focus on technology portfolios of which on each of these technologies is a component.

The technologies include a new way to cast alumina forming austentic stainless steels; a smart smoke alarm; a low-cost, pyrolytic carbon black composite anode for making lithium ion batteries; and a technology to make high performance lignin-based plastics.

ORNL Commercialization Managers and the Principal Investigators involved with the technologies have been making prospective licensees aware of these soon-to-be-available technologies since late last year.

“Showtime” will arrive in July when ORNL will issue the open solicitation, looking for the best proposals to commercialize the technologies, according to Paulus.

To help prospective licensees understand what ORNL expects, Paulus pointed us to the “Commercialization Plan Evaluation” criteria. It includes these areas and relative weighting:

  • Proposed Management Team – A total of 10 points equally divided between experience and expertise.
  • Ability to Develop the Product – A total of 10 points divided as follows: funding plan (3 points); track record of the team in the technology’s target market (3 points); anticipated time to market (2 points); and the team (2 points).
  • Ability to Market Product – A total of 10 points assigned as follows: depth of market opportunity analysis (3 points); strength of the “go-to-market” plan (3 points); anticipated business volume (2 points); and team (2 points).
  • Ability to Produce, Distribute and Support Product – A total of 10 points distributed as follows: strength of ramp-up strategy (4 points); facilities, both actual and planned, to manufacture the product (3 points); and team (3 points).
  • Commitment to Technology – A total of 10 points assigned as follows: capital committed (4 points); proposed performance milestones (3 points); and proposed license terms – execution fee, minimum royalties, and running royalty rate (3 points).
  • Type of Business – A total of 10 points available distributed as follows: U.S. small business (5 points); U.S.-based business, regardless of size (3 points); and U.S.-controlled business, again regardless of size (2 points).

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