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GAO: DOE Must Align Goals, Implement Performance Metrics for Tech Transfer Initiatives

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified three barriers to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) transition of project funding to the private sector and recommends the department to establish performance goals and metrics for technology transfers.

GAO said Monday that these obstacles include funding gaps, administrative and legal barriers and misaligned goals between industry needs and DOE research. The DOE has addressed gaps through its Technology Commercialization Fund and Energy I-Corps training program for researchers seeking to commercialize DOE technologies, GAO said. 

However, the watchdog noted that the DOE is yet to adequately assess which researchers would benefit from technology transfers. DOE must evaluate its commercialization training objectives and set performance targets to measure progress in line with broader strategic goals, according to the report.

The department collates DOE-wide technology transfer data such as the number of patents and licenses every year, GAO noted.