Technology Transfer


The technology transfer program at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is designed to leverage the research capabilities of USGS scientists with the commercial development potential of the private sector. It encourages the adoption, use, and commercialization of USGS research products through partnerships and is oriented toward finding potential users of USGS technology.

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The Department of the Interior and the USGS encourage innovative activity by their employees, promoting the commercialization of employee inventions through patenting and licensing of intellectual property. Click the link below to contact us.

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Partnership Opportunities

Are you interested in partnering with the USGS? Click on the link below to view current USGS Technology Transfer partnership announcements.

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Technology Transfer is defined as “... the process by which existing knowledge, facilities, or capabilities developed under Federal funding are utilized to fulfill public and private needs.  The goal of Federal technology transfer is to promote public/private sector partnerships that enhance U.S. competitiveness and leverage the Nation’s investment in Federal research and development.”

The main purpose of technology transfer is to aid the U.S. economy by making U.S. products more competitive in world markets. The concept of technology transfer from Federal laboratories is to get the ideas, inventions and technologies developed with tax dollars into the hands of the private sector as quickly as possible in a form useful to that community. The idea is to get the private sector involved in the development of Federal technology and technology products at an early stage so that the end result is a useful new U.S. product or service offered on world markets.

Technology transfer tools such as Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA), Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA), Facility Use/Service Agreement (FUSA), and patent licenses provide incentives to commercialization and use of USGS developed technologies. A CRADA allows Federal and non-Federal parties to share services, equipment, or other resources to accomplish a mutually beneficial R&D project.  It can include funds in to the USGS, but not funds out to the partner.  A CRADA may anticipate co-development of new intellectual property.  Projects should have mission value to the USGS and commercial potential for the partner.

Additionally, the USGS can partner with outside organizations through a TAA or a FUSA. The TAA is similar to the CRADA. It is used when the USGS is collaborating on more focused technical or research efforts with a non-Federal party to accomplish a mutual objective. A FUSA allows a non-USGS party to use unique USGS laboratory facilities, equipment, or capabilities. This agreement may only be used for providing access that is not available from the private sector for use in research activities or technology development.

Patenting and licensing of intangible intellectual property are key components of a successful technology transfer program. The Federal government can grant non-exclusive, exclusive, and partially exclusive licenses within specific fields of use to companies interested in marketing, manufacturing, or using federally developed technology protected by a patent. These licenses are agreements between the government and the technology users that permit the licensees to make, have made, use, offer for sale, or sell a particular product or process.

The USGS also has authority through 43 USC 36c to work collaboratively with other agencies, public and private.

Advantages of Technology Transfer

  • Develops a platform to share ideas
  • Fosters scientific advances to enhance standard of living
  • Protects intellectual property
  • Promotes economic development through commercialization of innovative technology
  • Enhances collaboration between the federal and non-federal science
  • Provides non-federal entities the ability to access federal technical assistance and facilities

Technology Transfer Brochure

The Technology Transfer brochure below provides a snapshot of the USGS Technology Transfer program in an easy-to-use, printable trifold format. For assistance with this PDF file, please contact Esther Eng, Technology Transfer Officer: or (703) 648-7550. 



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Year Published: 1996

Technology transfer opportunities: USGS technology: patents and pending patents available for licensing

Patents and pending patents for technologies and inventions developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are listed below. Pending patents are identified by asterisks.

Technology transfer opportunities: USGS technology: patents and pending patents available for licensing; 1996; FS; 133-96; U.S. Geological Survey

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Year Published: 1996

Technology transfer opportunities: how to enter into a CRADA with the USGS

A CRADA is a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. It is a written agreement between a private company and a government agency to work together on a project. By entering into a CRADA, the Federal government and non-Federal partners can optimize their resources and cost-effectively perform research by sharing the costs of this research....

Technology transfer opportunities: how to enter into a CRADA with the USGS; 1996; FS; 137-96; U.S. Geological Survey

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Year Published: 1996

Technology transfer opportunities: partnership opportunities available at the USGS

The following are USGS research projects offering an opportunity for Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) partnerships. A CRADA is an agreement between one or more Federal agencies and one or more non-Federal agencies to work together in research or developmental activities. CRADAs permit both partners to share information in a...

Technology transfer opportunities: partnership opportunities available at the USGS; 1996; FS; 136-96; U.S. Geological Survey