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Obama wants faster commercialization of research breakthroughs

October 28, 2011 |  9:05 am

IRobot CEO Colin Angle
President Obama on Friday directed federal research labs to move quicker to commercialize their breakthroughs in hopes of creating more private-sector jobs.

The move was one of two steps designed to spur business hiring. The Obama administration also said it would create an online site called BusinessUSA to help connect companies with federal services to help export goods and services to other countries.

The White House cited three companies that received federal research grants -- wireless chip maker Qualcomm Inc., antivirus software firm Symantec Corp. and robot manufacturer iRobot Corp. -- as examples of commercial successes helped along by the government.

Obama directed all federal agencies with research facilities to streamline and accelerate the processes they use to issue small-business research and development grants and collaborations with universities and private companies. The administration also will give agencies more flexibility to partner with private industry, such as through regional innovation clusters.

BusinessUSA will be a "centralized, one-stop online platform" to help businesses get information on various federal programs without wasting time wading through the bureaucracy. The site will be created within 90 days, the White House said.


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-- Jim Puzzanghera in Washington

Photo: Colin Angle, chief executive of iRobot Corp., holds the Roomba 780 vacuum cleaner robot at a news conference in Tokyo in September. Credit: Bloomberg.