Luján, Blackburn Introduce Bipartisan Innovation Legislation to Develop Next Generation of Tech Leaders and Entrepreneurs

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the Leveraging our National Laboratories to Develop Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders Act to empower our National Laboratories to foster the next generation of science and tech entrepreneurs as they solve major challenges facing Americans today. Senator Luján previously introduced the legislation as a Member of the House of Representatives during the 116th Congress.

PHOTO: Luján Tours Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs

This bipartisan innovation legislation authorizes $125 million over five years for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP). LEEP is a proven model to provide financial support, training, laboratory access, and research collaboration opportunities to early-career scientists and engineers to scale-up companies using their inventions and discoveries in energy, bioscience, advanced materials, and information technology. LEEP programs create a pipeline between the DOE’s cutting-edge research and U.S. commercial markets, promoting innovation and economic growth.

In New Mexico, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories are pursuing a LEEP pilot program that aims to attract national security companies, suppliers, and research collaborators. The federal government can build upon successful LEEP efforts, which have so far raised $18 in private capital for every dollar provided by the program, to further leverage our National Labs as a launch pads for technology entrepreneurship.

“National Laboratories in New Mexico and across America are leading the way in developing cutting-edge technologies and maintaining our national security and global competitiveness. Our Labs are critical learning hubs for developing the next generation of tech leaders and entrepreneurs who are tackling our nation’s greatest scientific challenges while creating skilled jobs,” said Senator Luján. “As Members of Congress negotiate bipartisan innovation and competition legislation, I will continue working with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to harness the full potential of our Labs to support our innovation ecosystem and workforce.”

“Tennessee’s national laboratories are responsible for keeping America on the cutting edge,” said Senator Blackburn. “The scientists, engineers, and researchers at Oak Ridge are innovators. This bipartisan legislation will support their critical research while fostering economic development and expanding the skilled workforce.” 

“LEEP is a proven way to support some of America’s most creative and ambitious climate-tech entrepreneurs. By combining the ideas and energy of these entrepreneurs with the unparalleled resources of DOE’s national laboratories, LEEP enhances the odds that their start-up companies will successfully traverse the proverbial ‘valley of death.’ LEEP deserves the whole-hearted support of Congress and DOE,” said David M. Hart, Director of the Center for Clean Energy Innovation at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

“BPC Action commend Sens. Lujan (D-NM) and Blackburn (R-TN) for introducing the Leveraging our National Labs to Develop Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders Act. Developing new energy technologies is crucial for mitigating climate change, increasing economic growth, and securing energy independence.  By authorizing the Department of Energy’s Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP), this bill secures a bright future for a program that supports our most promising entrepreneurial talent as they work on next generation technologies to move clean energy forward,” said Michele Stockwell, Executive Director of BPC Action.

Full text of the legislation can be found HERE.


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