U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján
- Bill Makes it More Affordable for NM Businesses to Partner with Labs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) has introduced legislation to help foster relationships between businesses and national laboratories that can help spur new economic growth and create new jobs.
Luján’s bill authorizes funding for Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) that foster partnership with businesses and startups to transfer commercially relevant technologies to the private sector.
“For over a half a century, our national laboratories have served as the nation’s leading research and development facilities, tasked with performing the R&D for national projects that cannot be undertaken by the private sector or in academic labs due to their scope, multidisciplinary nature, or infrastructure requirements,” Luján said. “Transferring the innovative technologies that are being developed at the national labs is a critical component to building a stronger economy in New Mexico and communities across the country. By making it more cost effective for businesses to partner with the labs, this legislation will pave the way for local businesses to commercialize new technologies and create new ventures that spur job creation.”
CRADAs are common mechanisms to support collaboration between a business and a national lab to bring technology from the lab to the marketplace. While it is permissible for the Department of Energy to use its funds to pay for the government’s share of a CRADA, most CRADAs are funded entirely by private businesses. Given the large amount of risk in commercializing a new technology, paying for the government’s share of the CRADA in addition to its own share is prohibitively expensive for most small businesses. This bill creates a fund to pay for the government’s portion of the CRADA and authorizes $20 million a year for five years.
Luján has long been one of the leading advocates for the national labs, working to expand their mission, and striving to ensure that the innovative work that occurs there is being fully utilized to grow the economy and support local businesses.
“This legislation will take us a step closer to realizing the full benefit of our national laboratories by providing entrepreneurs and small businesses cooperative access to the labs’ innovative science and research and development efforts,” Luján added.
The bill is cosponsored by fellow New Mexico lawmaker U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.