NASA has pulled together the content from 10 different websites under a mandated technology transfer program that makes it available via a new web portal promoting its patents and commercialized technologies.

The new portal, launched late last month, showcases 1635 out of NASA’s 6329 patents that have been commercialized by American businesses, many of them small companies. A NASA Spinoff section lists commercialized technologies from the 10 agency field centers, such as ventilators for critically injured patients and custom machines that advance composite manufacturing.

“Technology transfer has always been part of NASA’s mission since 1958,” said Dan Lockney, the agency’s Program Executive for Technology Transfer. “The goal is to make the largest practicable dissemination of NASA’s research and development.”

Each of the NASA field centers controls its own patents, which meant all technology transfer information was formerly spread across the internet via 10 distinct websites, as well as a high-level policy page at NASA HQ. Those pages still exist, but links to each of them are on the new portal with contact information for the tech transfer office at each center.

“It’s good to have a single comprehensive source of all the pools of transfer information,” said Donald S. Siegel, dean and professor at the business school of the University of Albany, SUNY, in New York, and an expert in technology transfer. “The portal identifies the location of the technology [by NASA field center], which helps people in [different geographic] areas. Venture capitalists like to be close to where their investments are because they like to inspect them, so location is important.”

The portal also contains a set of analytics, a searchable list of patents available for licensing, an application for businesses to partner with NASA, links to federal laboratories and other government technology centers, videos, and more.

“It took us about a year to collect everything in one place and work out the bugs,” Lockney said. “We plan to make continual improvements.”

Henry Hertzfield, professor of space policy and international affairs at Georgetown University, and also an expert in technology transfer, said: “It’s nice to have everything start in one place … but it will still take time to evaluate if [a technology] is for you. The portal is the beginning of that evaluation step, but it won’t make the evaluation easier.”

Siegel agreed the portal is a good first step, but said more than websites are needed to effectively transfer federal technology, not just from NASA, but from the federal labs run by DOE and DOD as well.

“Getting federally-funded technology into the private sector is an important part of what economists call national innovation,” he said. “We need to do a better job of transferring federal technology. You must showcase the technology, and go out and work with entrepreneurs. You need to be more aggressive-court the business and entrepreneurial community and make them aware of the applications.”

Lockney said NASA markets technologies to different industries, such as through an automotive technology workshop at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Each field center runs its own initiatives to engage consortia, and the agency is also working to make tech transfer information available for business school contests.

He added: “We are ramping up passive marketing through the portal, making it easier for people to more easily find solutions to their problems and trying to bridge the gap between business and the technology community.”