Press Release

NASA Announces Results of Pilot Program With

By SpaceRef Editor
April 6, 2011
Filed under ,

NASA’s Space Life Sciences Directorate (SLSD) at the Johnson Space Center in Houston announced results of a pilot program conducted by that identified partnerships to work on six technical needs related to human spaceflight. The needs range from better food packaging materials to a portable bone-imaging device.

SLSD engaged the services of open innovation service provider as part of a series of pilot programs during the last two years. In an effort to expand open communication and to create additional opportunities for public involvement with NASA, open innovation service provider (OISP) platforms are under evaluation.

“Open innovation has been a critical component of SLSD’s broader innovation strategy,” said Jeffrey R. Davis, director of SLSD. “This strategy has strengthened our ability to make connections with organizations to address our research and technology needs that we would not have known about using more traditional approaches. Given the favorable results achieved through this pilot study, we will continue to pursue the use of OISP as one tool in our innovation toolkit.”

Based on NASA’s specific technological needs, acted as a technology scout, providing a broad external network of experts as potential collaborators with NASA. A relationship can be established with these contacts to develop new technologies.’s system also can be used to maintain established networks for future collaborations. The results from the pilot study show potential for long-term efficacy of OISP platforms.

All contacts identified from the public posting of the six technical needs with have yielded a number of contacts not previously identified by NASA as potential collaborators for solving the agency’s technology needs. The bone density measurement technical need received 51 contacts from 12 countries, and one company was chosen for immediate collaboration. The real-time microbiological monitoring of water biocides technical need received 61 contacts from 18 countries, and five candidates are under consideration for collaboration. The radioprotectants need received 28 leads representing nine countries, and six contacts are under consideration for future collaboration. The extraterrestrial life differentiation need received 31 leads representing 10 countries, and one contact is under consideration for future collaboration. The portable bone imaging device need received 34 leads representing five countries, and five contacts are under consideration for future collaboration. The improved food packaging technical need received 29 leads representing 11 countries, and five contacts are under consideration for future collaboration.

“It was a privilege to work with NASA during the several months of the pilot program,” said Eugene Buff, vice president of consulting at “As effective as we were at identifying opportunities for NASA’s technology needs, we would not have been successful without the regular feedback and full engagement of the NASA centers. We look forward to the successful implementation of the technologies from partners identified through this team approach.” uses several methods to identify contacts of interest. Each technical need is posted anonymously on its marketplace website. actively searches through multiple databases of contacts from universities, small firms, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. All technical needs are posted on the website for approximately 3-4 months.

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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:

CONTACT: William Jeffs of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, +1-281-483-5111,; or Tim Bernstein of, +1-781-972-0600,

SpaceRef staff editor.