Bill Farris — Associate Laboratory Director for Innovation, Partnering, and Outreach

A photo of Bill Farris

For more than a decade, Bill Farris has expanded partnership activity at NREL, and he directs efforts to accelerate commercialization and the transfer of laboratory technologies to the marketplace.

NREL's long-term strategy includes increasing partnerships and market impact. During Farris' time at NREL, the laboratory has contracted with partners for research that has reached $1 billion in agreement value. Under his leadership, NREL has inked high-impact partnership agreements with more than 900 partners, including prominent companies in the energy industry such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Eaton, and Wells Fargo. As a result of Farris' efforts, NREL has grown to be an engine for collaboration within the national lab system.

Farris also oversees all licensing, sponsored research agreements, enterprise development, and innovation management functions at NREL. NREL has been a leader in improving partner access to the lab’s unique research capabilities, which has included retooling contracting mechanisms and approaches. These approaches for increased access have directly benefited DOE, NREL and its collaborators, and the broader DOE lab system. Farris led the development of a privately funded technology transfer program and a revolutionary private contracting framework that is the model for the DOE system.  Entrepreneurship, start-up, and technology incubation have been priorities for Farris in his time at NREL. More than 500 technology-based, start-up companies have benefited from interactions with NREL, and these companies have raised more than $7 billion in private sector funding.

Prior to joining NREL in 2008, Farris was responsible for the Commercialization, Economic Development, Business and Competitive Intelligence, and Commercial Relationships offices at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In addition, he managed new venture activities at the Pacific Northwest Division of the Battelle Memorial Institute and served as a primary point of contact for interactions with venture capitalists.

Farris holds a bachelor's degree in geological sciences and a master's in radiological sciences from the University of Washington and a master's in management of technology from the National Technological University.