NASA Seeks to Improve How It Learns About New Technology


The space agency wants input from partners regarding how it collects information about new tech innovation.

Part of NASA’s mission to drive advances in science, technology and space exploration requires knowing precisely when innovations that impact its mission occur.

To that end, the space agency is looking for public input to improve how it receives new technology information from NASA employees, industry partners, contractors and government-funded researchers.

NASA currently operates the electronic New Technology Reporting System, or e-NTR, a website NASA employees and parties under NASA funding agreements use to report technology advancements directly to the agency via secure internet connection.

However, in a notice set to publish in the Federal Register May 20, NASA seeks feedback for how it might improve technology information collection and reduce the burden on participants. Specifically, NASA wants to know whether the collection of information “is necessary for the proper performance” of NASA functions; what participants burden in time and costs are; “ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarify” of information collected and ideas regarding automation techniques that could further reduce burden.

NASA collects new technology reports as requirements under several statutes and laws. “Reportable” information, as described by NASA, could include solving “some kind of a technical problem” or finding “a new way of doing things that is somehow better.”

“Any improvement—no matter how big or small—should be reported in an NTR,” the agency states. “Generally, a new technology is any invention, discovery, improvement, or innovation—whether or not patentable – which includes, but is not limited to, new processes, machines, manufactures, and compositions of matter, and improvements to, or new applications of, existing processes, machines, manufactures, and compositions of matter. New technologies also include new computer programs, and improvements to, or new applications of, existing computer programs.”