Contracting Cone

Partnership Intermediary Agreement (15 USC §3715)


A Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) is a contract, agreement, or memorandum of understanding with a non-profit partnership intermediary to engage academia and industry on behalf of the government to accelerate tech transfer and licensing.

A Partnership Intermediary means an agency of a state or local gov, or a nonprofit entity owned in whole or in part by, chartered by, funded in whole or in part by, or operated in whole or in part by or on behalf of a State or local Government, that assists, counsels, advises, evaluates, or otherwise cooperates with small business firms and institutions of higher education that need or can make demonstrably productive use of technology-related assistance from a federal laboratory.

15 U.S.C. §3715 provides the authority to use partnership intermediaries to federal labs defined as any laboratory, any federally funded research and development center, or any center established under  15 U.S.C. §3705 (Cooperative Research Centers) or 15 U.S.C. §3707 (NSF Cooperative Research Centers) that is owned, leased, or otherwise used by a Federal agency and funded by the Federal Government, whether operated by the Government or by a contractor.

For the DoD:

10 U.S.C. §4124 authorizes Science and Technology Reinvention Laboratories (STRLs) Center Directors to use PIAs. These are the STRLs designated by OUSD Research and Engineering (R&E).

Common Applications

  • Services to facilitate technology transfer to private sector
  • Used by government labs to increase likelihood of success in conducting cooperative or joint activities with small business firms and institutions of higher education to make use of technology-related assistance from a government lab




Enables Government to pay for services to support technology transfer Authority available only to government labs
Partnership intermediaries can function as objective third-party brokers between government and industry to increase opportunity for commercialization of new capability Complexity to negotiate and execute increases time to establish agreement
Partnership intermediaries can engage in proactive marketing of lab technologies to industry to enable tech transition/tech insertion



  • PIA agreements are limited to federal laboratories as defined in 15 U.S.C. §3715 and 10 U.S.C. §4124