The CIA's new lab is a bid to attract technologists - Technical.ly DC

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Sep. 23, 2020 5:19 pm

The CIA’s new lab is a bid to attract technologists

With this new initiative, CIA officers will gain access to more resources and be able to publicly file patents on the intellectual property they work on while collecting a portion of the profits.
CIA headquarters.

CIA headquarters.

(Photo by Pixabay user ID:12019, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Central Intelligence Agency launched a new R&D arm to better attract entrepreneurs and innovators.

CIA Labs is part of the Federal Laboratory Consortium and will focus on technology research, development, testing and engineering to address new challenges and improve on existing solutions, its site reads. With this new installment, the Langley, Virginia-based CIA wants to recruit tech talent “by offering incentives to those who work there,” meaning, CIA officers will gain access to more resources and be able to publicly file patents on the intellectual property they work on while collecting a portion of the profits.

“This is helping maintain US dominance, particularly from a technological perspective,” said Dawn Meyerriecks, head of the agency’s science and technology directorate, told MIT Technology Review. “That’s really critical for national and economic security. It also democratizes the technology by making it available to the planet in a way that allows the level of the water to rise for all.”

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Solutions coming out of  CIA Labs will primarily focus on artificial intelligence, data analytics, biotechnology, advanced materials, and high-performance quantum computing. This new installment aligns with the agency’s work to commercialize tech coming from its employees. It also sponsors venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, which has invested in a number of mid-Atlantic startups in the last several years.

CIA officers who develop new technologies at CIA Labs will also be able to license, “making 15% of the total income from the new invention with a cap of $150,000 per year.” This salary competitiveness could be more appealing to technologists thinking about moving to the region.

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