Sandia's National Institute for Nano-Engineering Program Wins "Deal of Distinction" Award

Sandia National Laboratories' National Institute for Nano-Engineering (NINE) program, operated in conjunction with the Semiconductor Research Corp., has won a "Deal of Distinction" award from the Licensing Executives Society (U.S. and Canada), Inc. The award - a glass sculpture - will be presented today in San Francisco.

Sandia began the innovative educational approach called NINE to facilitate student education and improve U.S. competitiveness. But a partner was needed to facilitate the flow of funding, information and intellectual property rights between industry, universities and the national labs. Sandia found that partner in the Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC), set up nearly 30 years ago to help the then-foundering U.S. semiconductor industry. SRC is experienced in managing industry- and government-sponsored university research.

A novel aspect of the partnership that helped win the LES award was the establishment of a nonprofit entity called NINECO, structured to allow broad industrial and university participation. NINECO is a subsidiary of SRC and will work collaboratively with Sandia under a cooperative research and development agreement.

"The NINE agreements are a completely new model for a public-private partnership so that industry, national labs and universities can work together in a relatively seamless way," says Sandia licensing executive Paul Smith. Smith, a member of the society, successfully nominated Sandia for the award.

The award is in the "Industry/University and Government Laboratory Transactions" sector, one of five categories established by the society. Sandia won a previous award in the same category in 2006 for innovations in technology transfer.

According to an LES news release, "Intellectual property (IP) such as patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets are the fundamental drivers of innovation in our knowledge-based economy. Each year, major IP deals that transfer the rights to IP between companies help drive innovation and ensure that new products continue to reach businesses and consumers."

Sandia leaders in the NINE project include Duane Dimos, Justine Johannes, Regan Stinnett, Kerry Kampschmidt, Paul Smith, Lada Osokina, Jack Jackson, Rene Gonzales Sells, Chris Monroe and Steve Walsh (a consultant to Sandia from the University of New Mexico).

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