A funding opportunity offered through the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), an organization partnered with NASA,  may open the door to small companies developing products that can be modified for use in space. Grants from NSBRI’s Space Medical and Related Technologies Commercialization Assistance Program (SMARTCAP) are used to accelerate the development of products meeting a need on Earth as well as in space. Among the top priorities are non-invasive approaches to assess brain and ocular health, diagnostic and therapeutic devices that use ultrasound and other non-invasive modes, and miniaturized mass spectrometry.

Current grant-related projects include Cerebrotech Medical Systems, which is using its 2013 SMARTCAP grant to accelerate prototype enhancements and testing of its non-invasive continuous monitor of brain-fluid levels. Acell Inc. and Enterade USA LLC, each recepients of SMARTCAP grants in 2012, are developing and testing products that address wound healing and the effects of space radiation exposure on the gastrointestinal tract, respectively. And Pulsar Informatics’ 2011 grant has been applied to the development of a smartphone app to monitor the effects of fatigue on reaction time and job performance.

SMARTCAP accepts grant applications year-round; review and awards are made quarterly. Grants are considered during monthly cycles. Current cycle (January to April, 2014) applications must be received by February 13. Also, grant recipients must secure a 100% match in funding. Information regarding grant cycle deadlines, submissions guidelines, and other details can be found at www.smartcap.org.