Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) today signed an agreement with the Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority to help commercialize technologies and bring world-class research opportunities to Pennsylvania.
The five-year Partnership Intermediary Agreement was signed by ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling and Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary George Cornelius at the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa.
"This increases the access of Pennsylvania companies and researchers to the technology and world-class research capabilities in ARS' more than 100 research labs across the country," said Knipling. "This agreement will strengthen ARS' partnerships with Pennsylvania's colleges, universities and small businesses to promote research, product development, commercialization and economic development for Pennsylvania companies."
"I am a strong proponent of technology-based economic development because I know that up-and-coming technology companies, entrepreneurs and researchers are critical to Pennsylvania's future," Cornelius said. "This agreement will expand Pennsylvania's research and intellectual property base, and represents an important next step in our technology-based economic development agenda."
Under the terms of the agreement, ARS and the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority will work together to increase awareness among Pennsylvania businesses about opportunities for collaborative research, licensing and commercialization of technologies developed in ARS laboratories.
The partnership will encourage the creation or expansion of Pennsylvania businesses to address such challenges as food security, healthy eating for human nutrition, local and urban agriculture, and bioenergy. The partnership also will create new opportunities for providing goods and services to the communities along the nation's I-95 corridor and address emerging agricultural and land management issues in the Susquehanna and Chesapeake basin.
Pennsylvania's Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority is one of the nation's largest and most-replicated state technology-focused economic development initiatives. Its programs are managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and are a key component of its strategy and mission.
It is one of nine economic development partners nationwide chosen to enter into a technology transfer partnership with ARS as part of the Agricultural Technology Innovation Partnership program network. ARS has similar agreements with the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, the Mississippi Technology Alliance, the Wisconsin Security Research Consortium, the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds, and the Georgia Research Alliance. Three others are pending, including the California Association for Local Economic Development, the Kansas Bioscience Authority, and the Center for Innovation at Arlington, TX. All are expected to be in place by mid-June when the inaugural meeting of the network convenes in Beltsville, MD.
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of USDA. The partnership with the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority was developed under the auspices of ARS' Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). ARS is a leader in the federal government in transferring and marketing new technologies developed from its research, and has formed numerous partnerships using cooperative agreements. More information about opportunities for licensing ARS technologies is available on the ARS-OTT website at http://www.ars.usda.gov/partnering.