Albuquerque, NM – October 16, 2014 Sandia National Labs held a press conference on October 3rd to announce plans for its new commercialization center, C3. Called the Center for Collaboration and Commercialization, C3 will be a space for collaboration, technology transfer and scientific exchange between Sandia and the state’s research universities, entrepreneurs, investors and companies to accelerate commercialization of its technologies. The event was held at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History and included comments from Sandia President Dr. Paul Hommert, Mayor Richard Berry, and STC.UNM CEO Lisa Kuuttila. The center will be located in currently available buildings at the Sandia Science and Technology Park while plans are developed for the Center’s new facility at the Park, estimated to be ready in 2017. Dr. Hommert emphasized that C3, which commercializes Sandia technologies that have applications in the marketplace, is a component of its main mission to perform government defense R&D. By consolidating its tech transfer activities in a center outside its high-security facility, Sandia hopes to stimulate greater innovation and economic benefit for the city and state.
The C3 initiative is part of Sandia’s response to the University of New Mexico and the city’s Innovate ABQ initiative to build an innovation district, the core of which will be located in downtown Albuquerque within a larger surrounding research and innovation district. C3 aligns with and supports Innovate ABQ’s collaboration and commercialization goals and the “innovation district” goals as proposed by the city’s Livable Cities’ initiative. “We think Innovate ABQ opens the door for larger opportunities-such as connecting to C3. The downtown core site is envisioned as UNM’s hub for research, innovation, and entrepreneurship-oriented development, serving as a platform for faculty, students, and programs that can connect with other hubs for focused collaboration within the larger innovation district existing throughout Albuquerque, including UNM’s north campus, south campus and Science & Technology Park, the Rail Yards redevelopment site, and Mesa del Sol, all of which have the potential to become centers for specialized activities related to the unique resources and programs available at these sites. Strategic partners such as Sandia are well positioned to help establish the larger ecosystem of innovation throughout the region,” explained Ms. Kuuttila.
The University of New Mexico and Sandia National Labs have been collaborating for many years in research that has led to 150 jointly owned inventions and several new companies and licensing opportunities. Both institutions are also building a base of shared researchers who have joint appointments. “It’s all good,” Ms. Kuuttila observed. “Partnerships are essential to building the base of research collaborations and linkages to the many players in our entrepreneurial and business communities. Our common bottom line is that we want to create an innovation economy in New Mexico.”
Pictured from left to right: Mayor Richard J. Berry, City of Albuquerque, Dr. Paul Hommert, President and Laboratories Director at Sandia National Laboratories, and Lisa Kuuttila, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer at STC.UNM.
To read more about the event, see Kevin Robinson-Avila’s October 3rd article, “Sandia Unveils New Tech Transfer Center,” from the Albuquerque Journal, reprinted below, Dan Mayfield’s October 3rd article, “Sandia Labs, City, STC.UNM Announce New Co-working Space, Collaboration,” from Albuquerque Business First, at http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2014/10/03/sandia-labs-city-stc-unm-announce-new-co-working.html, and the October 3 Sandia news release, “Sandia Labs Plans Partnership Center to Boost Collaboration, Tech Transfer,” at https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/partnerships_center/#.VD6yORY3ZNQ.
Sandia unveils new tech transfer center
By Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer
Copyright © 2014 Albuquerque Journal
Sandia National Laboratories is taking its technology transfer efforts to the next level with plans for a one-stop shop for the lab’s tech-transfer programs – located outside Kirtland Air Force Base.
The new Center for Collaboration and Commercialization will be at the Sandia Science and Technology Park, just east of Kirtland.
“We want to expand Sandia’s front door by creating an open and accessible environment at the Science and Technology Park,” lab director Paul Hommert said at a news conference Friday morning.
The new center, to be known as C3, also will provide a central place for lab scientists and personnel to work directly in partnership with private investors, entrepreneurs, the state’s research universities and others to take new technologies to market, he said.
C3 will, for the first time, concentrate all of Sandia’s commercialization efforts outside the laboratory fence, providing much greater access by community partners to lab innovation and to the scientists behind the research, Hommert said.
John Freisinger, head of Technology Ventures Corp., which works to facilitate tech transfer at Sandia and other national laboratories, welcomed the move.
“A key component for businesses to get started is gaining access to lab ideas and scientists, and this really allows for that,” he said. “To access research and scientists today, you have to go through the Air Force base, the Department of Energy gate, and building security. With this center, it’s just one stop where you pull up to the parking lot and walk through the front door.”
Hommert said the center will add a new dimension to the lab’s tech-transfer efforts, which have focused heavily in the last few years on educating Sandia scientists to consider market opportunities in everything they do. And the lab has worked to provide more information to investors and entrepreneurs about technology available for commercialization through public forums and other outreach, while streamlining the licensing process to make it easier to take those inventions to market.
But Sandia’s efforts are generally scattered among different offices and administrative personnel, and a lot of it remains behind the fence, Hommert said.
“We want to build on the activities we already do but which today are less concentrated and collaborative,” he said. “The new center will be a physical place that provides opportunities to share things more completely. It will be a place where scientists can sit and talk with investors and others about the details of how to move technology forward.”
The center’s physical details and building costs must still be developed, but Sandia envisions a space with multiple facilities, including meeting and conference rooms, offices where investors and community partners can co-locate, and incubation space for new companies, Hommert told the Journal. The center will begin operating at existing buildings at the park, with a 2017 target for opening a new, dedicated facility.
“We want space where our staff and partners can roll up their sleeves and work together,” Hommert said.
Tom Brennan of Arch Venture Partners, a veteran of technology transfer at New Mexico’s national laboratories, said his company would take advantage of the opportunities the new center offers.
“For Sandia to get outside the gate in a place where people can go is super positive,” Brennan said. “So much so that I believe we at Arch Ventures would consider having an office there.”
Recently, Sandia has been forging closer partnerships with public and private entities in Albuquerque. In September, for example, Sandia launched a new effort with the New Mexico Angels – a group of individual investors who pool their resources to build startup companies – to market select lab technologies.
“We’ve seen a real change at Sandia in the last year where they’re actively engaging investors and entrepreneurs in a way they hadn’t before,” said NM Angels President John Chavez. “Sandia is really getting on board.”
Sandia executives said C3 will also support city and UNM efforts to build a high-tech research and innovation district Downtown. Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and UNM Chief Economic Development Officer Lisa Kuuttila joined Hommert in announcing the new initiative on Friday.
“We view C3 as part of the city’s Innovation District, as the eastern end of an innovation corridor that extends along Central Avenue from Downtown east to Eubank Boulevard and the Sandia Science and Technology Park,” said Julia Phillips, Sandia’s deputy chief technology officer.
Hommert said Sandia wants to join UNM and the city in strengthening the local economy.
“It’s all about stimulating innovation, cultivating entrepreneurs, and generating jobs,” Hommert said.
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