One of the avenues PNNL uses to move innovations to industry—and to help assure a smooth commercialization transition—is the Tech Trek program. Offered exclusively to our researchers, the program enables approved inventors and technical staff to join or start businesses that will move technologies they helped invent at PNNL into the marketplace.
Through Tech Trek, qualified researchers can take a full-time (up to a maximum of three years) or part-time (up to a maximum of six months) leave of absence to work with an entrepreneurial business. During or at the end of the approved leave of absence, the entrepreneur can decide to leave PNNL completely to work with the business or, if an opening is available, return to PNNL.
To equip these aspiring entrepreneurs, PNNL requires a two-day entrepreneurial training that covers topics like company formation, market assessment, strategy, cost and pricing, customer discovery and validation, business model, sources and uses of funding, and revenue models.
Since Tech Trek was launched in 2017, five staff members have taken advantage of the program.