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GAO discussed the implementation of the Technology Transfer Act of 1986 and a related executive order, focusing on the: (1) receipt of implementation guidance; (2) establishment and staffing of Offices of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA); (3) delegation of authority to laboratories to enter into cooperative research and development agreements (CRDA); and (4) establishment of personnel incentives to engage in technology transfer activities. GAO noted that: (1) laboratories in 7 of the 10 departments met at least 50 percent of the measures for full implementation; (2) wide variations existed among departments regarding completeness of parent department guidance; (3) only about 40 percent of the large laboratories had fully staffed ORTA located on their premises; (4) only 44 percent of the laboratories had been granted the authority to enter CRDA; (5) most departments failed to establish award programs for technology transfer activities, but established royalty sharing and personnel exchange programs; and (6) the level of implementation of the legislation was uneven across the departments and varied by legislative or executive order provision.

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