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Ombuds Program

The Ames Laboratory's Tech Transfer Ombuds Program is for anyone participating in the Ames Laboratory's complex collaborative R&D environment who may experience uncertainties or questions they describe as business concerns, problems or project-related ambiguities. Section 11 of the Technology Transfer Commercialization Act of 2000, Public Law 106-404  directs each USDOE National Laboratory to appoint a Tech Transfer Ombuds in order to: a) make the technology transfer process "industry friendly'' for companies willing to invest the significant time and resources needed to develop new products, processes, and jobs using federally funded inventions; and b) help assure that Federal technology licensing procedures balance federal policies that both protect the rights of the public and encourage companies to develop existing government inventions.

The Tech Transfer Ombuds Program provides private sector R&D partners and others in the broader commercial marketplace with a neutral and confidential point of contact to whom they can voice their "concerns". This program provides an alternative to the formal reporting channels established by the USDoE and the USDoE Ames Laboratory, addressing R&D and business-related issues in an informal, non-escalating way.

Pursuant to the law and USDoE policy, the mission of the Ames Laboratory Tech Transfer Ombuds Program is to provide a place where the Laboratory's private sector R&D partners, and others, may voice their concerns and seek solutions. The Ombuds process complements existing Laboratory decision-making and problem-solution processes by providing a dedicated, partner-focused, confidential, neutral, independent point-of-contact.

The Tech transfer Ombuds will:

  • Serve as an impartial third party in any discussion of confidential concerns,
  • Analyze those concerns from multiple perspectives and set them in context,
  • Explore the range of options available for resolving concerns,
  • Actively seek resolution among the parties, and
  • Focus Laboratory attention on the specific issues in a given case as well as any  broader spectrum of such issues that may exist.

To accomplish this, the Tech Transfer Ombuds will act as an advocate for a fair process and the Ames Laboratory's institutional values. The Ombuds will NEITHER serve as an advocate for the Laboratory, NOR as an advocate for a company or other project partner. Though the Ombuds may assist in a problem-solving process, the ultimate "ownership" of the concerns, the process, and the ultimate resolution resides among the parties involved themselves.

You may contact the Ames Laboratory Tech Transfer Ombuds Program Coordinator, Andrea Spiker, at:

515-294-6738, (phone)

Additional Information on the DOE Ombuds Programs can be found at