U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich
U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces hearing, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. advocated for legislation he sponsored to encourage technology transfer and highlighted the national laboratories’ role in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for Iran’s Nuclear Program.
At the hearing with leadership from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Senator Heinrich highlighted the Microlab Technology Commercialization Act, a bill he introduced with Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) to accelerate technology transfer by establishing off-campus microlabs that would serve as the “front-door” to national laboratories.
The microlabs would give academia, local government, businesses owners, and communities direct access to equipment, facilities, and personnel of national laboratories.
Heinrich asked the head of the NNSA, Administrator Frank Klotz, if the NNSA supported the concept of the microlab legislation and if federal funding could be provided in the form of a pilot program. Administrator Klotz agreed, stating: “An ongoing challenge, as you pointed out, has been, how you have an interface between the entrepreneurial community and the broader academic community when a lot of our work is done behind the wire behind the fence and there are security barriers to doing that. So, we’re very supportive of the efforts that you have outlined to accelerate technology transfer … and we support the notion of a pilot program, and as you know Sandia Laboratories has been in the lead in setting up a center, or proposing the center for collaboration and commercialization in Albuquerque.”
Heinrich also discussed the role the national labs would play with regard to verification under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for Iran’s Nuclear Program. Klotz highlighted the important role of the national labs, noting that “a lot of the policy decisions that were part of the negotiation process were informed by the technical knowledge, expertise, and analysis that were done within our labs and within our production facilities and I would expect that that would be an important part of further steps in bringing about an agreement and, if an agreement, implementing that agreement.”