S. 259 (107th): National Laboratories Partnership Improvement Act of 2001

107th Congress, 2001–2002. Text as of Feb 06, 2001 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

S 259 IS

107th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 259

To authorize funding the Department of Energy to enhance its mission areas through technology transfer and partnerships for fiscal years 2002 through 2006, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 6, 2001

Mr. BINGAMAN (for himself, Mr. DOMENICI, and Mrs. MURRAY) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To authorize funding the Department of Energy to enhance its mission areas through technology transfer and partnerships for fiscal years 2002 through 2006, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘National Laboratories Partnership Improvement Act of 2001’.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this Act--

      (1) the term ‘Department’ means the Department of Energy;

      (2) the term ‘departmental mission’ means any of the functions vested in the Secretary of Energy by the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.) or other law;

      (3) the term ‘institution of higher education’ has the meaning given such term in section 1201(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1141(a));

      (4) the term ‘National Laboratory’ means any of the following multi-purpose laboratories owned by the Department of Energy--

        (A) Argonne National Laboratory;

        (B) Brookhaven National Laboratory;

        (C) Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory;

        (D) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory;

        (E) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory;

        (F) Los Alamos National Laboratory;

        (G) National Renewable Energy Laboratory;

        (H) Oak Ridge National Laboratory;

        (I) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; or

        (J) Sandia National Laboratory;

      (5) the term ‘facility’ means any of the following primarily single purpose entities owned by the Department of Energy--

        (A) Ames Laboratory;

        (B) East Tennessee Technology Park;

        (C) Environmental Measurement Laboratory;

        (D) Fernald Environmental Management Project;

        (E) Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory;

        (F) Kansas City Plant;

        (G) National Energy Technology Laboratory;

        (H) Nevada Test Site;

        (I) New Brunswick Laboratory;

        (J) Pantex Weapons Facility;

        (K) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory;

        (L) Savannah River Technology Center;

        (M) Stanford Linear Accelerator Center;

        (N) Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility;

        (O) Y-12 facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; or

        (P) other similar organization of the Department designated by the Secretary that engages in technology transfer, partnering, or licensing activities;

      (6) the term ‘nonprofit institution’ has the meaning given such term in section 4 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 3703(5));

      (7) the term ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of Energy;

      (8) the term ‘small business concern’ has the meaning given such term in section 3 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632);

      (9) the term ‘technology-related business concern’ means a for-profit corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, or small business concern that--

        (A) conducts scientific or engineering research,

        (B) develops new technologies,

        (C) manufactures products based on new technologies, or

        (D) performs technological services;

      (10) the term ‘technology cluster’ means a concentration of--

        (A) technology-related business concerns;

        (B) institutions of higher education; or

        (C) other nonprofit institutions,

      that reinforce each other’s performance in the areas of technology development through formal or informal relationships;

      (11) the term ‘socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns’ has the meaning given such term in section 8(a)(4) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(a)(4));

      (12) the term ‘NNSA’ means the National Nuclear Security Administration established by title XXXII of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (Public Law 106-65); and

      (13) the term ‘Technology Partnerships Working Group’ refers to the organization of technology transfer representatives of DOE laboratories and facilities, the purpose of which is to coordinate technology transfer activities occurring at DOE laboratories and facilities, exchange information about technology transfer practices, and develop and disseminate to the public and prospective technology partners information about DOE technology transfer opportunities and procedures.

SEC. 3. TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- The Secretary, through the appropriate officials of the Department, shall establish a Technology Infrastructure Program in accordance with this section.

    (b) PURPOSE- The purpose of the program shall be to improve the ability of National Laboratories or facilities to support departmental missions by--

      (1) stimulating the development of technology clusters that can support the missions of the National Laboratories or facilities;

      (2) improving the ability of National Laboratories or facilities to leverage and benefit from commercial research, technology, products, processes, and services; and

      (3) encouraging the exchange of scientific and technological expertise between National Laboratories or facilities and--

        (A) institutions of higher education,

        (B) technology-related business concerns,

        (C) nonprofit institutions, and

        (D) agencies of State, tribal, or local governments,

      that can support the missions of the National Laboratories and facilities.

    (c) PROGRAM- In each of the first three fiscal years after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary may provide no more than $10,000,000 to National Laboratories or facilities designated by the Secretary to conduct Technology Infrastructure Program programs.

    (d) PROJECTS- The Secretary shall authorize the Director of each National Laboratory or facility designated under subsection (c) to implement the Technology Infrastructure Program at such National Laboratory or facility through projects that meet the requirements of subsections (e) and (f).

    (e) PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS- Each project funded under this section shall meet the following requirements:

      (1) MINIMUM PARTICIPANTS- Each project shall at a minimum include--

        (A) a National Laboratory or facility; and

        (B) one of the following entities--

          (i) a business,

          (ii) an institution of higher education,

          (iii) a nonprofit institution, or

          (iv) an agency of a State, local, or tribal government.

      (2) Cost sharing-

        (A) MINIMUM AMOUNT- Not less than 50 percent of the costs of each project funded under this section be provided from non-Federal sources.

        (B) Qualified funding and resources-

          (i) The calculation of costs paid by the non-Federal sources to a project shall include cash, personnel, services, equipment, and other resources expended on the project.

          (ii) Independent research and development expenses of government contractors that qualify for reimbursement under section 31-205-18(e) of the Federal Acquisition Regulations issued pursuant to section 25(c)(1) of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 421(c)(1)) may be credited toward costs paid by non-Federal sources to a project, if the expenses meet the other requirements of this section.

          (iii) No funds or other resources expended either before the start of a project under this section or outside the project’s scope of work shall be credited toward the costs paid by the non-Federal sources to the project.

      (3) COMPETITIVE SELECTION- All projects where a party other than the Department or a National Laboratory or facility receives funding under this section shall, to the extent practicable, be competitively selected by the National Laboratory or facility using procedures determined to be appropriate by the Secretary or his designee.

      (4) ACCOUNTING STANDARDS- Any participant receiving funding under this section, other than a National Laboratory or facility, may use generally accepted accounting principles for maintaining accounts, books, and records relating to the project.

      (5) LIMITATIONS- No Federal funds shall be made available under this section for--

        (A) construction; or

        (B) any project for more than five years.

    (f) Selection Criteria-

      (1) THRESHOLD FUNDING CRITERIA- The Secretary shall authorize the provision of Federal funds for under this section only when the Director of the National Laboratory or facility managing such a project determines that the project is likely to improve the participating National Laboratory or facility’s ability to achieve technical success in meeting departmental missions.

      (2) ADDITIONAL CRITERIA- The Secretary shall also require the Director of the National Laboratory or facility managing a project under this section to consider the following criteria in selecting a project to receive Federal funds--

        (A) the potential of the project to succeed, based on its technical merit, team members, management approach, resources, and project plan;

        (B) the potential of the project to promote the development of a commercially sustainable technology cluster, one that will derive most of the demand for its products or services from the private sector, that can support the missions of the participating National Laboratory or facility.

        (C) the potential of the project to promote the use of commercial research, technology, products, processes, and services by the participating National Laboratory or facility to achieve its departmental mission or the commercial development of technical innovations made at the participating National Laboratory or facility;

        (D) the commitment shown by non-Federal organizations to the project, based primarily on the nature and amount of the financial and other resources they will risk on the project;

        (E) the extent to which the project involves a wide variety and number of institutions of higher education, nonprofit institutions, and technology-related business concerns that

can support the missions of the participating National Laboratory or facility and that will make substantive contributions to achieving the goals of the project;

        (F) the extent of participation in the project by agencies of State, tribal, or local governments that will make substantive contributions to achieving the goals of the project; and

        (G) the extent to which the project focuses on promoting the development of technology-related business concerns that are small business concerns or involves such small business concerns substantively in the project.

      (3) SAVINGS CLAUSE- Nothing in this subsection shall limit the Secretary from requiring the consideration of other criteria, as appropriate, in determining whether projects should be funded under this section.

    (g) REPORT TO CONGRESS ON FULL IMPLEMENTATION- Not later than 120 days after the start of the third fiscal year after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall report to Congress on whether the Technology Infrastructure Program should be continued and, if so, how the fully implemented program should be managed.

SEC. 4. SMALL BUSINESS ADVOCACY AND ASSISTANCE.

    (a) ADVOCACY FUNCTION- The Secretary shall direct the Director of each National Laboratory, and may direct the Director of each facility the Secretary determines to be appropriate, to establish a small business advocacy function that is organizationally independent of the procurement function at the National Laboratory or facility. The person or office vested with the small business advocacy function shall--

      (1) work to increase the participation of small business concerns, including socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns, in procurement, collaborative research, technology licensing, and technology transfer activities conducted by the National Laboratory or facility;

      (2) report to the Director of the National Laboratory or facility on the actual participation of small business concerns in procurement and collaborative research along with recommendations, if appropriate, on how to improve participation;

      (3) make available to small business concerns training, mentoring, and clear, up-to-date information on how to participate in the procurement and collaborative research, including how to submit effective proposals;

      (4) increase the awareness inside the National Laboratory or facility of the capabilities and opportunities presented by small business concerns; and

      (5) establish guidelines for the program under subsection (b) and report on the effectiveness of such program to the Director of the National Laboratory or facility.

    (b) ESTABLISHMENT OF SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM- The Secretary shall direct the Director of each National Laboratory, and may direct the Director of each facility the Secretary determines to be appropriate, to establish a program to provide small business concerns--

      (1) assistance directed at making them more effective and efficient subcontractors or suppliers to the National Laboratory or facility; or

      (2) general technical assistance, the cost of which shall not exceed $10,000 per instance of assistance, to improve the small business concern’s products or services.

    (c) USE OF FUNDS- None of the funds expended under subsection (b) may be used for direct grants to the small business concerns.

SEC. 5. POLICY CONTINUITY FOR PARTNERSHIPS, AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER.

    (a) The Secretary shall establish within the Office of Policy, in conjunction with that Office’s responsibilities as executive secretariat to the Department’s Research and Development Council, a Technology Transfer Coordinator to perform oversight of and policy development for technology transfer activities at the Department of Energy.

      (1) The Secretary through Technology Transfer Coordinator, shall to the extent feasible, insure that the recommendations from the Report as generated by the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board in section 3163 of the ‘National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001’ are coordinated and carried Department-wide to non-NNSA laboratories and facilities consistent the statutory authority of the Administrator of the NNSA.

      (2) No funds under section 3(c) for partnerships shall be allocated under this Act until the Secretary through the Technology Transfer Coordinator has submitted to Congress an implementation plan that adequately addresses concerns outlined by the Administrator of NNSA of the Technology Infrastructure Pilot Program of collaborative projects as outlined in section 3161(b) of the ‘National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001’. The Secretary shall retain the discretion to not implement the partnership program defined by section 3 if the implementation concerns cannot be reasonably addressed.

      (3) The Technology Transfer Coordinator shall prepare a report to Congress for each fiscal year of funding under this Act outlining accomplishments, anticipated shortfalls, proposed remedies and expenditure of funds related to DOE Technology Transfer. The report should address the integration of the Department’s Technology Transfer efforts within the overall scope of Technology Transfer Policies within the U.S. Government.

      (4) The Technology Transfer Coordinator shall be designated by the Secretary as the Senior Departmental Official responsible for liaison with, and the oversight of funds authorized in section 5(c) the Technology Partnerships Working Group. The Coordinator shall report on the Group’s activities and budget in subsection (3).

    (b) AUTHORIZATION- The following sums are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Energy, to carry out the duties of the Technology Transfer Coordinator and staff, to remain available until expended, for the purposes of carrying out this Act:

      (1) $2,500,000 for fiscal year 2002.

      (2) $2,600,000 for fiscal year 2003.

      (3) $2,800,000 for fiscal year 2004.

      (4) $2,800,000 for fiscal year 2005.

      (5) $2,800,000 for fiscal year 2006.

    (c) POLICY DEVELOPMENT- Of the funds authorized to be appropriated under subsection (b) the following sums are authorized to be appropriated to carry out DOE Technology Transfer Policy Development and Reporting:

      (1) $1,000,000 for fiscal year 2002.

      (2) $1,100,000 for fiscal year 2003.

      (3) $1,200,000 for fiscal year 2004.

      (4) $1,200,000 for fiscal year 2005.

      (5) $1,200,000 for fiscal year 2006.

    (d) TECHNOLOGY PARTNERSHIPS WORKING GROUP- Of the funds under subsection (b), the following sums are authorized to be appropriated to carry out administrative tasks DOE Technology Partnerships Working Group:

      (1) $1,400,000 for fiscal year 2002.

      (2) $1,500,000 for fiscal year 2003.

      (3) $1,600,000 for fiscal year 2004.

      (4) $1,600,000 for fiscal year 2005.

      (5) $1,600,000 for fiscal year 2006.

SEC. 6. OTHER TRANSACTIONS AUTHORITY.

    (a) NEW AUTHORITY- Section 646 of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7256) is amended adding at the end the following new subsection:

    ‘(g) OTHER TRANSACTIONS AUTHORITY- In addition to other authorities granted to the Secretary to enter into procurement contracts, leases, cooperative agreements, grants, and other similar

arrangements, the Secretary may enter into other transactions with public agencies, private organizations, or persons on such terms as the Secretary may deem appropriate in furtherance of basic, applied, and advanced research functions now or hereafter vested in the Secretary. Such other transactions shall not be subject to the provisions of section 9 of the Federal Nonnuclear Energy Research and Development Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5908).

    ‘(2)(A) The Secretary of Energy shall ensure that--

      ‘(i) to the maximum extent practicable, no transaction entered into under paragraph (1) provides for research that duplicates research being conducted under existing programs carried out by the Department of Energy; and

      ‘(ii) to the extent that the Secretary determines practicable, the funds provided by the Government under a transaction authorized by paragraph (1) do not exceed the total amount provided by other parties to the transaction.

    ‘(B) A transaction authorized by paragraph (1) may be used for a research project when the use of a standard contract, grant, or cooperative agreement for such project is not feasible or appropriate.

    ‘(3)(A) The Secretary shall not disclose any trade secret or commercial or financial information submitted by a non-Federal entity under paragraph (1) that is privileged and confidential.

    ‘(B) The Secretary shall not disclose, for five years after the date the information is received, any other information submitted by a non-Federal entity under paragraph (1), including any proposal, proposal abstract, document supporting a proposal, business plan, or technical information that is privileged and confidential.

    ‘(C) The Secretary may protect from disclosure, for up to five years, any information developed pursuant to a transaction under paragraph (1) that would be protected from disclosure under section 552(b)(4) of title 5, United States Code, if obtained from a person other than a Federal agency.’.

    (b) IMPLEMENTATION- Not later than six months after the date of enactment of this section, the Department shall establish guidelines for the use of other transactions. Other transactions shall be made available, if needed, in order to implement projects funded under section 3.

SEC. 7. MOBILITY OF TECHNICAL PERSONNEL.

    (a) GENERAL POLICY- Not later than two years after the enactment of this Act, based upon the report generated under section 3161(a)(2) of the ‘National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001’, the Secretary through the Technology Transfer Coordinator shall determine whether it is reasonable to ensure whether each contractor operating a National Laboratory or facility has policies and procedures that do not create disincentives to the transfer of scientific, technical and business personnel among the contractor-operated National Laboratory or facilities. This determination may be made on an individual laboratory or facility basis due to their varied missions.

SEC. 8. CONFORMANCE WITH NNSA STATUTORY AUTHORITY.

    All actions taken by the Secretary in carrying out this Act with respect to National Laboratories and facilities that are part of the NNSA shall be through the Administrator for Nuclear Security in accordance with the requirements of title XXXII of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000.