The Federal government sponsors research programs to serve multiple purposes within the national interest. The national interest includes advancing scientific knowledge, improving technologies, stimulating economic activity, promoting health and wellness, defense and space exploration.
Technology transfer is itself an emerging discipline, and Federal involvement is still in an exploratory stage. Federal programs lack validated methods and established performance benchmarks. Related development programs with clear commercialization outcomes - such as SBIR and STTR - have demonstrated qualified success, when Federal Agencies direct funding to small businesses.
The commercialization rate is about one in four for SBIR (Phase I and Phase II) awards. Federal programs encouraging transfer activities within universities conducting traditional academic research, have few tools and less leverage to accomplish this secondary goal of technology transfer.
Transfers that improve the features and functions of assistive devices, and thereby increase the productivity and independence of our citizens, serve the national interest. Assistive technology companies represent an industry needing Federal support. Several Federal agencies with social missions support the development and transfer of assistive technology devices.
Several invited speakers represent various Federal agencies. All are involved with technology transfer, while some have greater involvement in the field of assistive technology than others.
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