Inflation is at a record high, driven in large part by skyrocketing energy costs. Unfortunately, to resolve the ongoing energy crisis, some leaders are suggesting we suspend global intellectual property protections and return to an era of Washington micromanagement — both of which will thwart researchers and entrepreneurs’ efforts to identify long-term solutions to today’s energy shortage.
In reality, our best — and perhaps only — shot at meeting our world’s energy demands rests with the innovators working tirelessly to bring early-stage university research to fruition in a grueling commercialization environment. Selling our entrepreneurs out to strategic rivals by voiding their IP rights hampers the global energy race, and jeopardizes our planet’s health in the process.
On Wednesday, July 27, 2022, the Bayh-Dole Coalition hosted a webinar to learn from prominent clean energy entrepreneurs meeting the energy challenge head-on by commercializing university research under the Bayh-Dole system. They discussed the essential role tech transfer and IP play in fostering a stable energy transition — and they will offer an inside look at the incredibly risky commercialization processes they must navigate to bring breakthrough products to the world.
Read the full transcript of the video webinar here.
Executive Director, Bayh-Dole Coalition
Joe is the executive director of the Bayh-Dole Coalition. As a professional staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee to Sen. Birch Bayh (D-IN), he played a key role in the successful passage of the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 and its subsequent amendments.
He later served as the founding director of the Office of Technology Commercialization at the Department of Commerce, where he helped oversee the implementation of Bayh-Dole across federal agencies. He also chaired the Interagency Committee on Technology Transfer, where his work helped guarantee that discoveries made by visiting scientists in America’s laboratories and universities would be owned by the U.S. host organizations. And he served as president of the National Technology Transfer Center and vice president and general manager of the Intellectual Property Management Group at the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation.
Co-founder and CEO, Commonwealth Fusion Systems
As the CEO of Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), Bob is responsible for the strategic vision and direction of the company, paving the way for a future of clean unlimited fusion energy. Since co-founding CFS with a mission to commercialize the high-field approach to fusion, Bob has grown the company to more than 300 employees and raised more than $2 billion from some of the world’s leading investors. CFS is a private commercial fusion company with a scientifically validated path to commercialization.
Bob performed his PhD work at MIT, during which he contributed to the design of several small superconducting tokamaks for a variety of physics missions using high-temperature superconductors (HTS). Prior to co-founding CFS, as an MIT fellow Bob focused on how entrepreneurship, risk-retirement strategies, and partnerships could increase the speed of fusion from laboratory to market. He organized and led a team identifying strategies to utilize private finance and traditional academic resources to speed the path to fusion energy resulting in a collaboration model with MIT.
Bob holds a PhD in Applied Plasma Physics and an MS in Nuclear Engineering from MIT, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering and BS in Engineering Physics from the University of Nebraska.
Matt has held product management and leadership roles in a range of startup companies, with experiences that were both venture capital as well as blue-chip company backed. In total, Matt is a six-time veteran of cleantech startups focused on next-generation energy storage technology. His previous endeavors include Firefly Energy, a startup focused on advanced lead-acid batteries, EnerG2, a startup creating high purity carbons for batteries and ultra-capacitors, GE Energy Storage, a startup with high-temperature sodium nickel chloride batteries for utility-scale applications, Aquion Energy, a startup with the worlds only safe and sustainable aqueous hybrid ion battery for renewable integration, Watt-Learn, a startup creating artificial intelligence for grid-connected batteries, and Oriden, a startup renewable project developer with a pipeline of gigawatts of solar and storage projects.
Since 2004, his career in product management has focused on bridging the gap between the lab and the market, developing and selling new technologies into the rapidly evolving cleantech marketplace. With experience in half of a dozen distinct battery chemistries, software, renewable project development, applications from mobile to EV to utility storage, and well over 100 MWh deployed energy storage across the world, Matt has a track record of defining products and go-to-market strategies that work. He holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Bradley University.
Founder & CEO, CalWave
Marcus Lehmann serves as the CEO of CalWave Power Technologies Inc. Marcus founded CalWave in 2014 and uses his experience in systems engineering, energy systems, and entrepreneurship, to lead a diverse team of engineers, advisers, and industry partners to unlock the vast and steady carbon-free power from ocean waves.
Prior to CalWave, Marcus held research positions at UC-Berkeley Mechanical Engineering, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and was a project lead at the Cyclotron Road program. Marcus holds a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from Technical University Hamburg, graduated from Technical University Munich with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering, and received an honors degree in technology management from the Center for Digital Technology and Management.
CEO, Voyant Photonics
Peter is the CEO of Voyant Photonics, a frontier-tech company developing active sensing systems for machine perception. Peter has spent the last twenty-five years creating and growing companies in a wide variety of sectors spanning from financial services to social media, and now semiconductors.
In 1996 Peter co-founded Datek Online, which revolutionized the retail brokerage world by providing low-cost, instantaneous executions. By 1997 it was the fourth-largest online stock brokerage firm. Peter served as Datek Online’s CTO, Director, and President until its multi-billion dollar merger to form the second-largest brokerage firm in 2003. Next, Peter created Zenbe (acquired by Facebook in 2010) to bring web and mobile collaboration services to businesses and consumers. Peter then became the first CEO of bitly, a link-shortener used in social media. Over the next two years, he tripled the size of the team, raised $15M in funding, and grew revenue ten-fold.
Before moving to NYC and working on technology startups, Peter spent six years designing and field testing military R&D projects involving lasers, helicopters, and classified electro-optic sensors. Peter is an active early-stage investor and mentor. He helped start and ran the Open Field Entrepreneur Fund at Carnegie Mellon to invest in early-stage tech companies, and remains on the board at the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship.