Work for Others (WFO), Non-Federal Entities (NFE)
A bilateral contract that enables non-federal partner to request LANL to perform work or tasks that draw upon the unique capabilities of Laboratory
What is a WFO/NFE?
A Work for Others/Non-Federal Entities (WFO/NFE) agreement is a bilateral contract that enables a non-federal partner to request the Laboratory to perform a defined scope of work or tasks that draw upon the unique capabilities of the Laboratory. While the Department of Energy financially supports the majority of research conducted at the Laboratory, funding from other sources—sponsored research—is growing in importance. Sponsored research is conducted consistent with the Work for Others guidelines established by DOE for national laboratories.
The Lab’s WFO/NFE program is designed to enable Los Alamos scientists to deliver their knowledge, expertise, and access to highly specialized instrumentation and facilities to the important research agenda of industry, state and municipal governments, universities, nonprofit associations, and other organizations for broad-reaching benefit to society.
What are the WFO/NFE program objectives?
- Accomplish research or technology goals that may otherwise be unattainable
- Allow non-federal sponsors access to highly specialized and unique facilities, services, or technical expertise
- Increase R&D interactions between DOE/NNSA facilities and industry to transfer Laboratory technologies to industry for further development or commercialization
- Assist with maintaining core competencies and enhancing the science and technology base at the Laboratory through the diversity of non-federally funded research and applied work
Why should Laboratory researchers engage in WFO/NFE activity?
- By engaging in this type of work, Laboratory principal investigators (PIs) can aquire supplemental funding for activities consistent with or complementary to the Laboratory’s core mission.
- Non-federal work can provide commercial validation of systems, processes, and procedures and can be the precursor to a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA).
- CRADAs can be negotiated concurrently with the WFO/NFE, providing staff with other commercial research validation opportunities and the potential to increase research dollars.
- The WFO/NFE can serve as a magnet for high-tech companies to collaborate with LANL scientists, providing additional opportunities for technical staff to interact with industry and non-federal entities.
- LANL scientists enjoy the diversity of the work non-federal entities can provide to their scientific discipline.
- Work with non-federal partners exposes Laboratory staff to different applications within industry for their work.
- LANL PIs can enjoy the benefits of the new, simplified WFO/NFE process in which paperwork has been significantly reduced.
What should Lab employees know about WFO/NFEs if approached by a non-federal entity?
- WFO/NFE is full-cost-recovery work: This includes Laboratory overhead plus the DOE federal administrative charge of 3 percent (automatically waived for small business and nonprofit entities).
- A 90-day advance of funds is required during the agreement performance period.
- Intellectual Property (IP) ownership may be available to the sponsor under DOE’s class waiver; nonexclusive IP rights may also be available to the sponsor.
- LANL retains IP ownership of any Lab invention (including technical data) conceived during the course of work conducted for federally funded, non-federal sponsors.
- All WFO/NFE projects must have proposal screening, adequate work-authorization processes, and required documentation of the work authorization, hazards, and controls.
What are the keys to a successful WFO/NFE agreement?
- Timely submission of the PI package following review of the statement of work by an authorized derivative classified (ADC) before submission to Technology Transfer
- Ensure that you (the PI) and your sponsor agree on the date work will begin (This step is key to obtaining prompt payment from the sponsor.)
- Understand your obligations under the WFO/NFE, a legally-binding contract
- Perform only those tasks included in the statement of work
- Allocate funds only from the specified program code for the WFO/NFE work
- Maintain open and regular communications with your non-federal partner