April 15th-17th 2010 marks the third year for the JSC Innovation Partnerships Office and Space Life Sciences Directorate to be part of the Rice Business Plan Competition. This competition has become the premier intercollegiate business plan competition in the world. The three-day event is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. The Competition is hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.
This year, teams will compete for more than $800,000 in cash and prizes including a Grand Prize worth approximately $325,000. Competitors receive incomparable feedback, networking opportunities and mentoring. Between 2001-2008, 85 teams who have competed have gone on to launch their ventures and have raised more than $150 million in funding. More than 80% of 2009 competing teams have successfully launched their companies.
Last year, the Johnson Space Center Innovation Partnerships Office in conjunction with JSC's Space Life Sciences Directorate (SLSD) and Engineering Directorate presented four awards - $80,000 in total prize money - as part of the 2009 Rice Business Plan Competition. Each company was awarded $20,000.
Receiving NASA engineering prize money was E&M Devices for its plan to develop a miniature, wireless sensor package that harnesses its power needs from the vibrations on its mounting location. "There is a potential for widespread commercial and NASA applicability due to its weight savings, long life span, zero maintenance and independence from external power needs," said Steve Altemus, director of engineering at JSC.
Receiving the second award was Next Ray for its plan to develop a new X-ray technology named Diffraction Enhanced Imaging. This technology produces high-resolution X-ray images at lower energy levels and has potential use as a non-destructive evaluation system for failure analysis on future spaceflight hardware.
Prize money also was given to Troy Research for its technology pursuing a solution to simplify water purification in space applications. The technology uses Deep Ultraviolet Radiation Light Emitting Diodes, a simple, low-power solid state technology that could potentially alter the water purification process for lunar and Mars excursions.
Integrated Diagnostics received an award for its work designing HemaScreen, which is a clinical assay using integrated circuit technology that has the potential to perform multiple immunoassay tests within minutes. "This technology has the potential to provide very sophisticated laboratory analysis and greatly reduce the needs to return laboratory samples to the Earth. The flight crews would have greater autonomy in providing health care in orbit," said Dr. Jeff Davis, director of JSC's SLSD.
"Small business innovation is critical to the success of NASA programs. NASA believes it is important to build upon and to capitalize on the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans to achieve great things for our country," said Michele Brekke, director of the JSC Innovation Partnerships Office.
For more information about the Rice University Business Plan Competition, please contact the Competition Director at 713-348-3190 or via the website: