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Johnson Hosts Inaugural MUREP Innovative and Tech Transfer Idea Competition

March 25, 2019

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement welcomed nearly 50 students and professors from five states and one U.S. territory to NASA’s Johnson Space Center for the inaugural MUREP Innovative and Tech Transfer Idea Competition (MITTIC) from March 11 to 14. MITTIC is a spinoff challenge, established by participating NASA centers and programs, to develop new ideas for commercialization by seeking concept papers from multi-disciplinary students enrolled at a minority-serving institution.

“It was a great experience for our team, and one that I would recommend to anyone working on innovative research and development of spinoff technologies,” said Manuel Lobato-Vico, professor at the University of Puerto Rico. “We are committed to continue and want to apply to the NASA Technology Transfer licensing office to build a prototype and, eventually, a commercially viable product.”

To meet the requirements, teams chose one NASA Intellectual Property (IP) from a provided list and submitted concept papers using MITTIC challenge guidelines. Up to 10 qualifying teams were then selected to participate in an online collaboration and were funded to travel to Johnson for the immersive on-site experience. 

Once participants arrived at Johnson, teams explained their proposed concept and business plan during a poster session open to the workforce and presented a lightning pitch to a panel of judges at the “Space Tank” competition. 

MITTIC 2019’s winning team from El Camino College in Torrance, California, chose the NASA IP Portable Wireless Signal Booster from Johnson. From April 15 to 19, eight students and one principal investigator will get travel funding to visit, tour and present at NASA’s Ames Research Center and various companies in Silicon Valley. This experience will expose the team members to research facilities, laboratories and start-up companies and the give them opportunity to discuss further development.

NASA internships will be awarded to 10 MITTIC participants through the NASA Small Business Tech Transfer Office and NASA Technology Transfer Office, funded by MUREP [Minority University Research and Education Program].

“I am happy to report the JSC immersion experience last week was wildly successful for everyone involved, especially the 10 minority-serving institutions that were showcased in the Space Tank competition,” said Misti Moore, MITTIC activity manager. “The feedback we received from our technical community and partners has been overwhelmingly positive on the technologies produced by these institutions, and we cannot wait to gear up for round two.”


MITTIC participants, professors and leaders pose for photo in the Teague Auditorium on the first day of Space Tank. Image Credit: NASA