The Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) is designed to complement angel investment or early stage corporate product development. The fund totaled nearly $14.3 million in fiscal year 2007 and fiscal year 2008 and is administered by national laboratories selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
National laboratories struggle to find post-research, pre-venture capital funding for innovations that are no longer considered research projects but are not sufficiently prototyped to attract private investment. This phenomenon is known as the “Commercialization Valley of Death.”
The TCF brings together DOE’s national laboratories and industry to identify promising technologies that are facing the “Commercialization Valley of Death.” The lab then makes matching funds available to any private sector partner that wishes to pursue deployment of the technology.
How the Technology Commercialization Fund Works
When awarded, fund dollars must be spent on prototype advancement and cannot be used for scientific research. Awarded in 2007 and 2008, the TCF has yielded significant interest from the private sector in commercializing national laboratory intellectual property.
Based on submitted applications, the TCF was divided among selected DOE National Laboratories:
|National Renewable Energy Laboratory||$4.0|
|Oak Ridge National Laboratory||$4.0|
|Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory||$1.5|
|Pacific Northwest National Laboratory||$1.5|
|Sandia National Laboratories||$1.4|
|Los Alamos National Laboratory||$0.7|
|Argonne National Laboratory||$0.7|
|Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory||$0.5|
*Award amounts rounded
How Projects are Selected
When administering the Technology Commercialization Fund the national laboratory will evaluate technology-product proposals that focus on prototype development, demonstration, and deployment—not further scientific research. The national laboratories also will judge proposals on:
- Potential market opportunity
- Likelihood of commercial success
- Management team
- Alignment with DOE priorities
- Private sector partners.
To learn more about the funding available at the participating laboratories, contact the laboratory’s Office of Technology Transfer.
The TCF has received the following coverage in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) press releases:
- DOE Announces Up to $7 Million for Technology Commercialization Acceleration (DOE, August 29, 2008)