NASA helping regional industry

Under a new five-year, $6.8 million contract, a new NASA research center will help industry in the mid-Atlantic region gain access to and market new technologies developed by the space agency.

"The key component is providing access for Virginia's businesses and providing NASA a conduit to reach all businesses in Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region," said Robert Harrell, vice president for regional operations at Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (www.cit.org).

CIT, a state-chartered, nonprofit group that promotes technology and business throughout the commonwealth, will act as Virginia's affiliate to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Technology Transfer Center (TeCC), which also has agreements with similar organizations in Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

TeCC (www.teccenter.org) and its state affiliates will match and market new, commercially viable technologies primarily developed at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. But Harrell said it does not preclude businesses from dealing with other NASA labs throughout the country.

Harrell, who is Virginia's director for TeCC, said a company interested in a new technology could simply license and market the product or collaborate with a NASA scientist for further research and development, enter into a contractual license agreement and then market the resulting product.

TeCC, he said, would publicize about a dozen new NASA technologies each month. About 40 percent of the contract would go to marketing the technologies in the five-state region, while the remaining contractual funds would support the center's operations.

Nationwide, more than 1,000 companies are matched with NASA scientists and research.

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