TR: This will help with commercialization?
RC: I think so. Take an example of when researchers make a hydrophobic gel that is nano-based. If you drop a drop of water onto it, it literally stands up, repels from the surface almost magnetically. And the thought is, what would happen if you put that on an airplane wing or incorporated that into a material as a coating? They decide they want to go into the federal database and find other people who’ve applied things like Teflon to steel. How did they adhere? What experiments were done? What mechanical procedures did they investigate that we may not know about, that may or may not have worked as well?
So you would have somebody in that space to say to the venture capitalist, “I have this product in this form. It’s not enough to be incorporated into a product yet. These are the three steps that we’re taking. We have information about this, about that, about this, and we’re on a glide path now to where we can get to a venture capital stage within six months. We hope you can work with us.”
The venture capitalist may well say, “It sounds like you can get there from here, if you work with these folks. Why don’t we give you some early seed-stage capital here at this point, just to help you make a trip out to California to visit with the professor or the grad students who have done this work in the past.” So that’s what I’m hoping for here.
TR: Such a database will mean more paperwork for researchers who already have to spend a lot of time on grant applications and report. Some readers might be saying, “Not another form!”
RC: Exactly right. And I understand. But I just think that the government – we’re prying hard-earned tax dollars out of people’s hands – and I think that when we invest them, we have the responsibility to capture results of the research that’s been conducted with them.