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Report: NASA Budget Constraints Fuel Breakdown in Tech Sharing

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NASA’s inspector general said in a March 1 report that the agency has failed to transfer NASA technologies to industry.

One of NASA’s tactical objectives is to produce technologies that different agencies, private sector corporations and international units can use.

NASA’s innovative partnership office works with private sector project managers to forge cooperation between technology recipients and coordinate the possible commercial opportunities of a program, according to the inspector general.

NASA’s technology transfer funding has decreased from $60 million in fiscal year 2004 to $19.2 million in fiscal 2012.

NASA allocates nearly 79 percent of its budget for contracts, higher than any agency.

Since 2003, patent attorneys have dropped in population from 29 to 19 and the office’s personnel had shrunk from 13 to 2, according to the report.

Aside from the declining allocation of personnel and subsidy, the report also highlights the minimal awareness of technology transfer within the agency.

The report suggests NASA should increase its efforts to commercialize developed technologies.

Program managers should also have a determined agenda for commercialization and must coordinate with the partnership office’s personnel to identify the potential and practical applications of a technology.

The report also said chief technologists should review the subsidy allotment for tech transfers and set regulations for program managers.

The office should be more liable for technology evaluations and preparation for commercialization, the inspector general said.

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