Technology transfer, disseminating technology developed by the Department of Energy's laboratories to the general science community and the public, including non-Federal technology partners, and private firms, is one of the Department's top priorities. One of the ways in which this transfer is accomplished is through the use of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA), a method established under the 1986 Federal Technology Transfer Act. In 1989, the National Competitiveness Technology Transfer Act established the technology transfer concept as a Federal mission and authorized government-owned, contractor-operated laboratories to use CRADAs to facilitate the development of technology and transfer that technology to the private sector.
The Office of Science is responsible for managing CRADAs at ten national laboratories. The Department's CRADA Directive (DOE O 483.1) and Manual (DOE M 483.1-1) delegates the responsibility for evaluating the CRADA processes and measuring CRADA performance to Federal site offices located at each laboratory. The site offices are responsible for ensuring that the laboratories obtain a final report documenting the results of research and any new inventions or technology, and forward a copy of the report to the Department's Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI). Ultimately, OSTI is responsible not only for preserving the scientific and technical information generated through a CRADA but also making this information readily available to the scientific community and to the public.