Recommendation: ONR needs to take a more proactive role in domestic technology transfer in ocean science and technology. This can be accomplished using a combination of strategies, including organizational realignment, electronic databases, newsletters, sponsored forums and workshops, professional association meetings, personal communication among principal investigators, and funding incentives within ONR for programs that facilitate commercial product development. The existing programs intended to promote communication between ONR and the nonmilitary sector should be used to determine industry needs.
Finding: Few incentives apparently exist within ONR to promote domestic technology transfer at the level of administrative program managers and investigators.
Investigators both within and outside of the Navy are motivated to produce superior research or develop new technology so they may receive continued funding or peer recognition. Similar inducements do not exist to leverage R#038;D efforts for application beyond their originally intended use. ONR investigators are well intentioned, but to take further advantage of R#038;D expenditures, additional incentives are required to encourage an increased focus on technology transfer (see Chapter 5). The importance of exploiting (or leveraging) technology must become a performance objective of the entire ONR organization. As the principal executive of ONR, the Chief of Naval Research needs to create plans for the transfer of technology with specific objectives and milestones for accomplishment. Although it is beyond the purview of this study to recommend specific program goals and levels of performance to ONR, these plans should reflect a program-wide priority on technology transfer to the nonmilitary sector. Progress toward achieving these objectives should be managed like any other development project and progress should be reported on a regular basis. Individual performance objectives should be established, beginning with top ONR executives and including all team leaders and laboratory investigators. Individuals should be rewarded or recognized on the basis of achievement measured against these objectives. To ensure the success of technology transfer, effective training will be required to enable all employees to understand the goals and mechanisms of a successful technology transfer program.
Recommendation: Incentives need to be provided at the program level, and measures of performance established at the executive level, to promote domestic technology transfer. The Chief of Naval Research needs to provide executive leadership and operational training at all levels of the organization to implement an effective technology transfer policy.