Congratulations to Rhonda Kivlin in NIST PEER Challenge

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Rhonda KivlinThe Center for Research Innovation congratulates our own Rhonda Kivlin for her success in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Partners Engaged in Extramural Reporting (PEER) challenge, placing first for her proposal on education and certification in invention reporting for federally funded projects at universities and companies across the country.


NIST and the PEER Challenge

The federal government provides more than $70 billion in funds and grants for innovative research projects at universities and companies all over the nation each year. Even though the federal government provides monetary backing for these research projects, the Bayh-Dole Act passed in 1980 allows the recipients of these funds to retain the intellectual property rights to the inventions they produce; in turn, institutions are required to appropriately commercialize their inventions that received federal funding such that the country might benefit from what is ultimately their investment.

The problem that NIST faces is that of invention underreporting on the part of grant recipients; while many institutions receive funding, they fail to remain compliant with the regulations set forth in the Bayh-Dole Act. NIST produced the PEER competition with the intent of developing new programs that might remedy this problem of underreporting.

NistKivlin’s Proposal

The CRI’s Intellectual Property Administrator Rhonda Kivlin entered the competition with a kind of insight that can only come from experience. Kivlin says when she first started as an IP Administrator, there were very few resources regarding maintaining compliance with the Bayh-Dole Act, a task littered with complexity. She was inspired by her own struggles coming into her IP Administrator position to provide a new methodology that mitigates the steep learning curve for newcomers and incentivizes current professionals to keep up with invention reporting.

Kivlin’s submission to PEER outlines a comprehensive approach, providing a simple, straightforward, and consistent wizard for smaller universities and a more robust training and certification design complete with a library of resources for those universities that produce many patents, such as Northeastern University. This strategy provides ample aid and resources to IP administrators across the spectrum, making invention reporting accessible to universities that produce limited inventions while providing ample resources to those universities that produce many patents each year.

“It’s an honor to receive the NIST PEER Prize Award, and I’m grateful for the consideration,” says Kivlin. “I hope that in some way my idea will help someone new to federal reporting find answers while also acknowledging the professional contributions of those who work in this field.”

Kivlin will be speaking on a panel at the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer 2021 meeting regarding her proposal later this year.

Read more about the NIST PEER competition here.

Get to know Rhonda and her insightful solution here.

Written by Joseph Burns

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