OCE Functions

Inventions and Contributions Board

Inventions and Contributions Board

Click image to visit the ICB site and learn more about the annual Software of the Year and Invention of the Year awards.

As a NASA innovation source, the Inventions and Contributions Board (ICB) has over the past 50 years distributed millions of dollars for thousands of technologies that have enhanced the nation's space program and the individual citizen's quality of life. The ICB has issued over 98,000 awards to applicants from NASA and other U.S. government agencies, as well as from industry and academia. The Space Act limits the amount of an award for any single contribution to no more than $100,000 without notification of Congress. ICB operations are governed by three sections of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations: 14CFR1209, 14CFR1240, and 14CFR1245.

The Inventions and Contributions is chaired by the NASA Chief Engineer and is composed of representatives from across the Agency, who reflect NASA's finest technical talent and whose expertise covers more than 40 fields of science and technology. The Board is assisted by four staff members based at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, who carry out the administrative activities of the awards process.

The ICB also acts as the approval body for grants of waiver of NASA's rights to contractor inventions. Changes in the law in 1984 automatically grant waivers for small businesses, certain not-for-profit organizations, and universities. NASA, as a title agency, is vested with all rights to inventions by large contractors, unless a waiver is granted by the ICB.

All awards are submitted through the Awards Liaison Officers for the NASA Center that sponsors the candidate technology. The Board approves awards for Tech Brief Articles, Software Releases, and Patent Applications. The Board Award is the mechanism for awarding competitors in two Yearly Competitions: Software of the Year and Invention of the Year.

+ Visit the ICB Site to Learn More