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NEWS | July 10, 2014

Dr. Rita Manak Elected to Executive Board of Federal Laboratory Consortium

By Donna McKinney

Dr. Rita C. Manak, head of the Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL's) Technology Transfer Office, has been elected to the Executive Board of the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) as a Member-at-Large for a two-year term beginning October 2014. Congress established the Federal Laboratory Consortium under the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986.

As NRL's designated Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA) representative, Dr. Manak works with the FLC and other organizations to help link NRL's research and development resources to potential users in universities, state and local government, and industry. The members of NRL's Technology Transfer Office license patented NRL inventions to commercial entities to manufacture them and make them available to the Government and the general public and they assist NRL investigators to develop Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with collaborating universities and companies. DOD regulations require that Technology Transfer activities be a part the national security missions; therefore they are a key activity at the DOD laboratories, such as NRL. The Consortium helps federal agencies, laboratories, and their partners in integrating research and development resources within the mainstream of the U.S. economy.

Each of the Federal laboratories has a senior staff member who is a member of the Consortium. These representatives elect a Chairman and an Executive Board. The Director of the National Institute of Standards, part of the Department of Commerce, provides the Consortium with administrative services.

The Federal Laboratory Consortium works to:
  • enhance communication among member agencies and their laboratories; to increase dialogue with state and local governments, businesses, academia, and other external participants; and to publicize best practices, solutions, and success stories.
  • leverage research and development investments by exploring innovative approaches to technical assistance and other technology transfer activities; reduce time, cost, and risk of research and development projects; and increase use of federal technology by all participants.
  • improve the technology transfer process by analyzing agency technology transfer policy, procedures, and activities; to address any barriers identified; provide fundamental and advanced education and training to enhance the technology transfer process; and provide federal agencies an analysis of key performance measurement elements and assessment options.
Dr. Manak joined NRL as head of the Technology Transfer Office in 2006 with licensing and CRADA responsibilities for its technologies. Before coming to NRL, she directed the Office of Technology Transfer at the University of Arizona in Tucson, directed the Technology Development Office at University Hospitals of Cleveland (the teaching arm of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine) and served as Licensing Officer at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Dr. Manak received her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Notre Dame College of Ohio, her master's and doctorate degrees in microbiology/immunochemistry from the University of Illinois-Urbana, and conducted postdoctoral studies in molecular endocrinology at the University of Wisconsin. She gained her understanding of the research enterprise and its transition to commercialization as a research scientist for U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Nebraska, and as a research scientist and manager for the Diamond Shamrock Corporation.

She has served as Vice President, Association of University Technology Managers; Board Member of the Arizona Venture Capital Committee; and member, Advisory Board of BioEnterprise, a Cleveland economic development venture.

About Federal Technology Transfer

As a result of the recent recession, technology transfer has been the focus of increasing attention from the President and Congress. The 2011 Presidential Memorandum, Accelerating Technology Transfer and Commercialization of Federal Research in Support of High-Growth Businesses, commits each executive department and agency that conducts R&D to improve the results from its technology transfer and commercialization activities. The aim is to increase the successful outcomes of these activities significantly over the next five years, while simultaneously achieving excellence in our basic and mission focused research activities. The FLC is the only cross-agency vehicle to provide training in best practices and achieve compliance with the Presidential Memorandum and associated directives.

The Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering recognizes S&T Technology Transfer achievements, including rewards to DOD winners of FLC awards. NRL's Dr. David Derieux, Space Systems Development Department, was recognized at the 2014 FLC Awards Banquet for his System and Method for Identifying First Responders in a Hazardous Environment which uses RFID technology to assemble an electronic ride list of first responders at a hazardous site. Previous NRL awardees were Dr. David Stenger, Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering Division, for Microarray Pathogen Resequencing (2009), and Dr. John Montgomery and Captain David Schubert, USN, who were co-named Laboratory Director of the Year (2006).

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