Fact of the Week: Increasing R&D 10 percent per 100 Lab Scientists Can Yield a 2 Percent Increase in Patent Applications

Robert D. Atkinson April 26, 2021
April 26, 2021

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Source: Albert N. Link, “Technology Transfer at U.S. Federal Laboratories: R&D —> Disclosures —> Patent Applications,” University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Working Paper 21-02, March 2021.

Commentary: Funding for federal laboratories is critical to accomplish key national missions. But policymakers have realized it also drives technology commercialization. That is why Congress has passed legislation like the Stevenson-Wydler Act and the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1996. These policies and lab practices have worked. In a new study, economist Al Link finds that a 10 percent increase in R&D per 100 federal lab scientists is associated with a 1.52 percent to 2.04 percent increase in patent applications per 100 scientists.