CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, July 22, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 5120, the Department of Energy Laboratory Modernization and Technology Transfer Act of 2014, as amended, under a suspension of the rules. H.R. 5120 was introduced on July 16, 2014 by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and referred to the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
Title I of H.R. 5120 expands the role of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy to improve connectivity between offices under its jurisdiction. Moreover, it requires the Secretary of Energy to report to Congress (180 days after enactment) assessing the Department’s ability to carry out the goals of section 1001 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (dealing with the transfer of energy technologies). This includes an assessment of the role and effectiveness of the Technology Transfer Coordinator position and recommending policy changes to improve the Department’s ability to transfer new technologies to the private sector. Title I also establishes the Sense of Congress that the establishment of an independent Commission to review the effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories is an important step towards developing a coordinated strategy for the National Laboratories.
Title II requires the Secretary to carry out the Agreements for Commercializing Technology pilot program. Moreover, Title II requires the Secretary to submit a report to Congress that assesses the effectiveness of the pilot program; identifies opportunities to improve the effectiveness of the pilot program; assesses the potential for program activities to interfere with the responsibilities of the National Laboratories; and provides a recommendation regarding the future of the pilot program. This legislation also permits the Secretary of Energy to delegate authority to the directors of the National Laboratories to enter into public-private research and development partnerships (under $1 million) for commercialization. H.R. 5120 also amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to: 1) include early-stage technology demonstration in authorized technology transfer activities; and 2) increase funding competitiveness for institutions of higher education. Finally, Title II allows the Secretary to enter into an agreement with the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to enable researchers funded by the Department to participate in the NSF’s Innovation Corps Program.
Finally, Title III requires the Comptroller General of the United States to submit to Congress a report describing the results of projects developed under the Act, including information: 1) enumerating the partnerships initiated as a result of those projects; 2) identifying whether the activities carried out resulted in fiscal savings, expansion of National Laboratory responsibilities, increased efficiency of technology transfers, or an increase in the general efficiency in the National Laboratory system; and 3) assessing the scale, scope, efficacy, and impact of the Department’s efforts to promote technology transfer and private sector engagement at National Laboratories.
A CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.