Look for improved technology transfer from NASA

A recently released Office of Inspector General (OIG) report on NASA found that project managers and other personnel responsible for executing the agency's technology transfer processes could improve their effectiveness in identifying and planning for the transfer and commercialization of those technologies, a news release on the report said.

Specifically, NASA personnel did not realize the transfer potential of some technological assets and project managers did not develop Technology Commercialization Plans that provide a methodology for identifying potential commercial partners. The report also partially excused the deficiencies, citing decreased funding and resulting reductions in personnel.

“NASA has missed opportunities to transfer technologies from its research and development efforts and to maximize partnerships with other entities that could benefit from NASA-developed technologies. For example, algorithms designed to enable an aircraft to fly precisely through the same airspace on multiple flights – a development that could have commercial application for improving the autopilot function of older aircraft – was not considered for technology transfer because project personnel were not aware of the various types of innovations that could be candidates for the program,” the report concluded.

OIG recommended that NASA implement procedures to ensure its personnel receive periodic training on the technology transfer process, reassess the allocation of resources for technology transfer, incorporate appropriate language in program and project management policies to emphasize the importance of developing Technology Commercialization Plans, and timely review and make accessible reports of new technologies. NASA concurred.