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&D efforts for application beyond their originally intended use. ONR investigators are well intentioned, but to take further advantage of R&D expenditure, additional incentives are required to encourage the extra effort needed to focus on technology transfer (see Chapter 5). Exploiting (or leveraging) technology must become a performance objective of the entire ONR organization.
It is beyond the purview of this study to recommend specific program goals and levels of performance to ONR. As the principal executive of ONR, however, the Chief of Naval Research should create plans for the transfer of technology with specific objectives and milestones for accomplishment. Such plans should reflect the program wide priority to be placed 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 both the goals and the mechanisms of effective technology transfer.
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.