National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight CenterGoddard Space Flight Center

Collaborate with Industry


What does the SPO consider to be a “GSFC collaborative need”?

GSFC researchers have various needs that can be met using existing NASA vehicles that include procurement, SBIR/STTR, and internal R&D. Other needs, however, fall outside the bounds of existing programs that can “potentially” be met instead through creative collaborative partnerships facilitated by the SPO. For example, assume a NASA researcher has insufficient funding/equipment/materials/skills to meet an R&D challenge beyond existing programs. An industry/university/government partner could supply part or all of the needed funding/equipment/materials/skills to NASA in exchange for an option to license any resultant inventions if interested. Similarly, the challenge may be to find an industry partner to commercialize NASA’s successful R&D and then supply a product or service back to NASA to meet mission needs. While many unique scenarios exist, in all cases GSFC would benefit from a collaboration with an outside third party. In suitable situations, the SPO can help NASA researchers to seek out such partners, vet candidates, and establish win-win agreements to make the collaboration a reality.

 Who can submit a collaborative need?

Any NASA civil servant can discuss a potential collaborative need to the SPO for consideration.

 When should a GSFC researcher submit a collaborative need, to whom, and how?

A NASA researcher with an idea for pursuing an outside collaboration should contact one of the Technology Managers within the SPO. Such projects are conducted on a case-by-case basis when there is a belief that identifying such a third party has a promising chance of success.

 Why should a GSFC research submit a collaborative need?

Like all organizations and government agencies, researchers at GSFC are increasingly resource constrained.  Exploring collaborative partnerships is a unique (and often less considered) way to enhance progress on projects that might otherwise languish or accelerate projects already well funded.

 What happens after discussing a potential collaborative need with the SPO?

Following a conversation with a GSFC researcher, the SPO will consider the extent to which creating a “Partnership Project” is warranted (since the SPO also has limited resources and partnership establishment is also most likely when a win-win scenario can be envisioned). If a project is pursued, common steps include the following:

  • The SPO and researcher reach agreement on the value NASA can bring, and seeks, from a partnership
  • The SPO engages its network to seek out and vet potential partners, engaging researchers to aid in the vetting process as it proceeds.
  • Negotiations are held if promising partner candidates are identified
  • The appropriate partnership agreement (e.g., Space Act Agreement) is established to allow GSFC researchers and the partner to officially collaborate for mutual benefit.