By Pete Julius

Technology transfer is the process of transferring intellectual property designed for one particular purpose to another.  For example, the Air Force developed an advanced composite called carbon fiber to construct a more durable, light-weight jet aircraft.  Years later these carbon fiber materials were applied to other industries, such as sporting goods.  Technology transfer is more or less a function or activity, and not a particular industry.  Therefore, it cannot be defined by SIC Codes or NAICS codes.  Given the importance and profitability of technology transfer, how does your community attract companies generating new uses for existing technology?

It all starts with research and development.  Are you aware of all the research and development being conducted at your local educational institutions, private and public businesses and government agencies? And do you know the potential applications of these research operations? This understanding of your local intellectual pool will allow you to begin thinking about other industries that might benefit from this research.  Finally, does your community have established organizations and programs in place that can assist in the transferring technology?

The government has established many programs to help transfer technology into commercial use, and so have many colleges and universities. In addition, some small business bureaus can provide assistance and access to capital and other needed resources. 

Investigating the research being conducted at your local university, military establishment, hospital, or any other private or public entity, and learning the potential applications of this research can provide your community with ways to attract and assist local businesses that could benefit from technology transfer.

For more information on technology transfer visit the following web sites:

  •  National Technology Transfer Center (
  • Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (
  • Oakridge National Laboratory (
  • Argonne National Laboratory (
  • Air Force Technology Transfer Program (