National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has always relied on academic partnerships for scientific research and to find future members of the Nuclear Security Enterprise. The latest partnership, with the Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results (TI:GER) Program at Emory University School of Law, is a brand new way of working with students.
Despite NNSA’s visibility as the steward of the U.S. nuclear stockpile and leader in global nonproliferation, the cutting-edge research conducted at the National Laboratories goes far beyond nuclear weapons work. The technology transfer program spanning the labs, plants and sites is a major source of American innovation, resulting in thousands of new inventions that become part of a consumer’s everyday life, or part of a federal agency’s mission work.
The Nuclear Security Enterprise has amassed the largest numbers of patents across the federal government and has created billions of dollars in economic impact. Tech transfer efforts are led by NNSA’s Office of Strategic Partnership Programs, with the strategic goals of technology development, commercialization and maturation; workforce development, recruitment and retention; economic development; public branding; outreach and collaboration; and protection of American technologies.
One compelling example is the Wavefront technology, originally developed for NASA telescopes but now a critical part of modern LASIK eye surgery. Another is the DYNA3D computer code, which analyzes the structures of bombs but also predicts vehicle behavior by using collision test simulations, saving the U.S. auto industry billions each year. The clean room, which was originally created for the nuclear weapons program, has led to advances from semiconductor development to biotechnology, and eventually enabled the modern smartphone that you might be reading this on right now.
To improve the market research on various technology transfer projects underway at NNSA, the labs will be working with Emory Law’s TI:GER Program, a nationally recognized collaborative initiative with Georgia Tech. Directed by Nicole Morris, Emory Law professor of practice, the program brings together annually more than 60 Emory Law students with a passion for law and technology.
This semester, 33 of these students will become an essential part of NNSA’s process for commercializing its cutting-edge technological discoveries and creations. Outsourcing the market research to students will help NNSA understand the viability of a potential product and the best applications for its use.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Emory Law students to work with renowned researchers at NNSA’s world-class laboratories and facilities,” Morris says. “Moreover, these researchers are solving complex problems related to energy, …….