Located on the west coast of central Florida, Tampa Bay is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the South East. Though Tampa Bay may be known for its beaches, it is also home to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. The University of South Florida, located in the heart of Tampa Bay, is a mainstay in this ecosystem.
In early 2021, the Tech Transfer Office at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) sought new ways to engage students in the virtual environment necessitated by COVID19. Ultimately, the NASA Technology Transfer (T2U) Program was adjusted to be facilitated entirely virtually. This adaptation has broadened access to the program and allowed it to flourish and grow through this challenging period.
The University of South Florida was one of the first schools to participate in the new all-virtual version of T2U. Dr. Dirk Libaers, the Director for the University of South Florida Center for Entrepreneurship, and visiting professor Dr. Lin Jiang led the USF side of this effort. Dr. Libaers and Dr. Jiang iterated with the KSC Tech Transfer office, and a new vision for the program began to take shape.
Dr. Jian proposed incorporating the T2U program into a graduate-level Entrepreneurship course, Strategic Market Assessment. This course helps students develop an in-depth understanding of the techniques used to analyze market opportunities for new inventions and intellectual properties. Dr. Jiang saw an opportunity to leverage NASA IP to deepen the students learning experience.
Dr. Jiang collated a shortlist of technologies from the NASA Patent Portfolio. The students selected the final three technologies from this abbreviated list.
- LARC's ZONE (Zeroing Out Negative Effects)
- KSC's Wastewater Treatment and Remediation
- ARC's Monitoring and Control of Each Nanosatellite within a Cluster of Nanosatellites
The KSC Tech Transfer office coordinated with other NASA centers to provide virtual technology presentations from the inventors of the chosen technologies.
Throughout the semester, the students worked in groups to diligently investigate their chosen technology. This examination involved deep-dive analysis of the technologies to determine whether or not they could become viable commercial products. Each group delivered a comprehensive presentation at the end of the course, detailing their findings and outlining the business cases that they created. During this process, the students also discovered insights into new markets that NASA could direct marketing efforts towards. NASA personnel from KSC, and the other centers who volunteered inventor support, tuned in online to watch the final presentations. One of these presentations even led to a detailed discussion between the student group and the inventor.
Following the completion of the programs, one of the student groups expressed interest in continuing their research and they are currently collaborating with the ARC Tech Transfer Office to license the technology.
Both of the instructors involved expressed enthusiasm for the program and a desire to continue the relationship.
“Collaborating with the KSC T2X program has been a stellar experience for the faculty and a wonderful educational opportunity for our students. We would love to both deepen and broaden our partnership with the NASA T2U program and to take technology transfer and commercialization efforts to the next level.” Said Dr. Dirk Libaers, Director of the USF Center for Entrepreneurship
“We would love to continue the collaboration with NASA for this course. My observation and student feedback told me that this experiential learning exercise with NASA was empowering to the students. It helped them see that even in the classroom, they can do something really meaningful that deeply matters to them and to society.” Said Dr. Lin Jiang, USF Visiting Professor.
To learn more about T2U visit our website.
For additional information about T2X or T2U, please contact Christie Funk at firstname.lastname@example.org