NASA’s Minority University Education and Research Program (MUREP) Innovation and Tech Transfer Idea Competition (MITTIC), a Shark Tank-style competition for students at minority-serving institutions, is officially included in the 2022 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) Scholar Recognition Program. The program is part of a White House initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity.
MITTIC is a customized, condensed version of NASA’s MUREP idea competition, which began with a 2021 scholar cohort. The competition, referred to as Mini MITTIC, challenges teams of HBCU scholars to develop selected NASA ideas for potential uses in the commercial space industry.
“Mini MITTIC offers an amazing opportunity for students to gain real-life work experiences,” said Misti Moore, MUREP lead and MITTIC activity manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “By formalizing this NASA offering for HBCU scholars, we are able to help individuals from underrepresented communities explore their entrepreneurial interests using NASA’s technology portfolio while working toward a common goal of discovering commercialization opportunities.”
NASA has participated in the White House initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity since inception of student programming in 2014. However, Mini MITTIC establishes a formal program that includes NASA in the offerings provided to scholars.
By incorporating Mini MITTIC into the HBCU Scholar Recognition Program, NASA can better reach and encourage students at minority-serving institutions to participate in NASA missions, as well as research and development activities, while also diversifying the American STEM workforce pipeline.
NASA’s MITTIC team and subject matter experts will work over the summer to introduce 86 scholars representing 56 HBCUs to NASA’s entrepreneurial opportunities so they can develop business proposals.
The university teams will pitch their final product in a forum to the MITTIC team. The top three teams will be selected to present their ideas in September during the National HBCU Week Conference in Washington.
MUREP is administered through NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement. MUREP investments enhance the research, academic, and technology capabilities of minority-serving institutions through multiyear cooperative agreements.
In addition, awards provide NASA-specific knowledge and skills to learners who have historically been underrepresented and underserved in science, technology, engineering, and math.
NASA’s Technology Transfer Program, managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), ensures that the innovations developed for exploration and discovery are broadly available to the public, maximizing the benefit to the nation.