NIST to Update Online iEdison Tool for Reporting Federally-Funded Inventions


The National Institutes of Health managed the Interagency Edison System, or iEdison—an online platform used by organizations to report their federally-funded inventions—since the one-stop interface was originally launched two and a half decades ago.

But according to a recently released request for information, management of iEdison will soon be transferred to the National Institute of Standards and Technology—and that agency has big plans to revamp and streamline the entire reporting platform. 

“A modern iEdison system is critically important to efficiency in research administration and reporting of inventions that ultimately create value for society and the economy,” Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter Copan said in a statement Monday.

The government puts up more than $100 billion each year to support research and development efforts led by many of America’s universities and private sector entities. Established in 1995, iEdison is the system those entities use to report more than 7,000 inventions each year. They also access the platform to obtain extensions and waivers, report their progress, upload relevant documents and perform other reporting tasks as required by 35 federal funding agencies. 

In 2016, the U.S. National Academies suggested updating the iEdison system and moving its management into Commerce’s realm. Heeding that recommendation, NIST will soon assume responsibility for the platform, and in doing so, agency officials plan to “modernize and streamline the system to improve user experience, enhance functionality and increase security to ensure sensitive business information is protected.”

In the RFI, which marks the beginning of its efforts, the agency asks stakeholders to weigh in on the challenges they face when using the iEdison system, the features that should be retained or scrapped, as well as insights on all improvement that should be made through the modernization effort. The agency also plans to host public workshops over the next few months to guide the technical development of the next iEdison.

Responses to the RFI are due Jan. 27, and NIST aims to launch the new-and-improved system by early 2022.  


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