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Homeland Security

Technology Transfer Mechanisms

The Technology Transfer Program promotes the transfer and/or exchange of technology with industry, state and local governments, academia and other federal agencies. To accomplish its mission, the Technology Transfer Program promotes research and partnerships and evaluates, protects, markets, licenses, monitors and manages DHS inventions and other intellectual property, as mandated by the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986.

Technology transfer mechanisms

  • Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) – Probably the most commonly used technology transfer mechanism, CRADAs are instruments that may be used in all aspects of a product and/or system life-cycle where research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) activities occur. The federal parties may provide personnel, services, facilities, equipment, intellectual property or other resources with or without reimbursement (but not funds to the non-federal parties). The non-federal parties may provide funds, personnel, services, facilities, equipment, intellectual property or other resources toward the conduct of specified research and development efforts that are consistent with the missions of the DHS component or laboratory.
  • Licensing Agreement – A licensing agreement is a contract between the owner or lawful user of intellectual property (IP) and another party (licensee) that permits the licensee to use the IP in accordance with the terms of the contract.
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – An MOU provides the framework for cooperation and coordination with other agencies. The agreement helps ensure smooth operations with shared resources or workflow. It creates a clear understanding of each party’s commitment/purpose.
  • Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) – A PIA is an agreement between DHS and a state or local government agency or a nonprofit entity. The PIA allows the partnership intermediary to:
    • Identify new technologies in the private sector that can be utilized by DHS.
    • Facilitate joint projects between the department and private companies, as well as between agencies and academic institutions, to accelerate delivery of technological capabilities to the nation.
    • Help existing companies identify department technologies that can be licensed and commercialized.


If you are interested in learning more about any of the technology transfer mechanisms, please contact

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