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Retiring Sandia Lab Director Hommert Lays Foundation for Continuing Tech Transfer Collaborations with UNM

Albuquerque, NM – May 18, 2015 Retiring Sandia Lab Director Paul Hommert was the featured speaker at the May 13 Albuquerque Economic Forum breakfast meeting. Dr. Hommert has led Sandia in several initiatives to increase tech transfer of lab technologies to the marketplace and greater collaborations with UNM in joint inventions, commercialization, and employment opportunities for UNM students. To read more, see Kevin Robinson-Avila’s May 13, 2015 article, “Tech transfer on solid ground, Sandia leader says,” from the Albuquerque Journal, reprinted below.

Tech transfer on solid ground, Sandia leader says

Sandia National Laboratories has built a solid collaborative foundation in recent years with local universities and business groups to improve the commercialization of new technologies, said lab Director Paul Hommert at the Albuquerque Economic Forum Wednesday morning.

Those collaborative ties have helped strengthen technology transfer of new discoveries from Sandia, and from joint research with the University of New Mexico.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” Hommert said. “I think the technology transfer engine is running at a little higher rpm now.”

Hommert announced on Tuesday that he will retire by mid-summer as lab director, a position he’s held since 2010. But Hommert said the initiatives begun in recent years to accelerate technology commercialization will continue, especially as the lab works to deepen its local partnerships.

That includes launch of a new Center for Collaboration and Commercialization at the Sandia Science and Technology Park, which Hommert announced last October. The center will provide a one-stop-shop for the lab’s tech-transfer programs, while developing closer ties with business groups, universities, and local government.

“We want to reach out and create an environment to interface with the entrepreneurial community more directly,” Hommert told Forum participants. “The center will become a technology-oriented front door to the lab.”

Sandia is building a strong business case with the U.S. Department of Energy to move the initiative forward, but it’s already laying the center’s foundations.

“We’re not waiting,” Hommert said. “We’re prototyping it using the atomic museum at the Sandia Science and Technology Park to start. With all the intellectual property we now have available, we’re in a good position to take commercialization to the next level.”

The number of new invention disclosures by lab scientists rose 15 percent between 2012 and 2014, Hommert said. New patent filings jumped 31 percent in the same period, and commercial licenses 39 percent.

Some of that reflects Sandia’s collaborative relationship with UNM, which has led to more joint research and joint intellectual property development.

The lab has also worked with UNM and other New Mexico universities to hire more employees from the local pipeline of students graduating in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Lisa Kuuttila, head of the Science and Technology Corp., UNM’s tech-transfer office, said Hommert has provided leadership to move forward.

“He’s made it a priority and it’s led to a lot of progress,” Kuuttila said. “We’re seeing encouragement from the DOE to continue those efforts, and that can keep the momentum going after Hommert retires.”

Source: Albuquerque Journal

For more information, contact:

Kevin Robinson-Avila