discovery. This concern led to the establishment of Superconducting Pilot Centers at ANL, LANL, and ORNL. These Centers permitted, for the first time, joint industry-government funding of research and development whereby the industry partner would have proprietary rights to intellectual property that might result from the project. This approach was productive, and after a few years, legislation was passed permitting this approach for many other such arrangements. This 1989 legislation created the basis for Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs). Today, the Department of Energy's national laboratories are engaged in more than 1,500 CRADAs supported by more than $200 million of DOE funding and a comparable level of funding by the industry partners.
CRADAs are not the only means of technology transfer from DOE's national laboratories. Industry can contract for work performed at the laboratories when the work does not compete with other activities of private industry. Typically, such work involves the use of unique scientific facilities at a laboratory—for instance, high resolution electron microscopes, synchrotron light sources, or research reactors—to analyze some material. Scientists and engineers at national laboratories can, under certain circumstances, serve as consultants to industrial organizations. In some cases, employees of the laboratories are able to gain control of the intellectual property they have helped create and start a company that takes advantage of that property.
Russia has laboratories that are in many respects the equivalent of national laboratories in the United States. Some of these laboratories had been dedicated to national security pursuits that are no longer a critical imperative. The question is how Russian laboratories can benefit Russian industry and the economy. Technology transfer may not be of major direct benefit in the short term; however, forging links between Russian laboratories and industry likely will be of great benefit to the Russian economy in the longer term. To illustrate the potential, in the United States it is estimated that over 50 percent of the jobs created in the past ten years are related to science and technology developed more than a decade ago by government, industry, and academia. For such benefits to be realized in Russia, the appropriate legal and economic framework, together with a system of personal incentives to stimulate invention and its exploitation, must be in place.
One key to stimulating technology transfer at DOE national laboratories has been the establishment of a system whereby the inventor is rewarded for a patent and shares in the licensing fees, the institution shares in the proceeds, and the federal government realizes some direct benefits from the fees. This system has been in place for about 10 years. At the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the fees earned for licenses amount to about $1 million per year. Some of this money is used to offset the costs of filing and defending patents and some of it goes to the inventors. This reward system has spurred the creation of intellectual property and its dissemination to industry.