Low-contrast "chameleon" thread for garments, self-tinting windows, and object avoidance sensors for transit systems--these are a few of the technologies the Laboratory will team up with industry to develop, thanks to the latest awards from DOE's Energy Research Laboratory Technology Transfer (ER-LTT) program.
In all, 20 "quick response" projects from eight LBL divisions will receive $1.4 million in funding from ER-LTT.
The latest projects are greater in number, less expensive, and for shorter time periods compared to previous ER-LTT awards. Besides helping bring LBL's science to the marketplace, the funds should act as "seed money" to nurture more extensive partnership deals in the future, says Chris Kniel, the Lab's ER-LTT manager.
LBL is also working more closely with small businesses than in the past. More than half of the projects pair Lab researchers with companies having fewer than 500 employees.
The awards include 13 small Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs)--pacts between DOE and industry to develop promising technologies. In contrast to the bigger multi-year CRADAs, small CRADAs involve work for less than a year with contributions from Lab and industry generally totaling less than $150,000.
The awards also include seven personnel exchanges, which involve the Lab and industry sharing knowledge by swapping scientists for a period of time. "It's a chance for our researchers to get out of the Lab for awhile, and closer to what is happening in industry," Kniel says. An exchange can be an important first step toward a larger CRADA.
The winners were selected from 45 proposals submitted late last year. The Materials Sciences and Energy and Environment Divisions received the most awards--seven and five, respectively.
The Technology Transfer Department selected the projects with reviewers from academia, industry, and the Lab. Projects were judged on the basis of scientific quality, commercial potential, and benefit to LBL's mission.
This brings the total number of industrial collaborations at LBL to approximately 80. They include major partnerships, CRADAs, personnel exchanges, and technology maturation projects.
The Technology Transfer Department will hold the next call for quick response proposals in the late summer.
The following small CRADA projects were awarded ER-LTT funding: