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NASA Names New Institute, Center

March 21, 1997

NASA selected the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to lead a consortium for its new National Space Biomedical Research Institute.

The space agency started the selection process last spring when it announced its intent to establish science institutes as a means of maintaining the scientific excellence of its applied biomedical research through greater involvement of the scientific community in NASA's overall research program. (SSTI Weekly Digest, May 3, 1996). The National Space Biomedical Research Institute is the first such organization to be formed.

The Institute will conduct biomedical research to support human health in the exploration and development of space, with the support of the Johnson Space Center. It will define and direct the required basic and applied research to ensure the overall health and performance of crew members involved in long-duration space flight. The Institute will also focus on how the technologies and techniques it develops may be applied to earth health care issues.

The specific objectives of the Institute include:

  • Implementation of a research plan that will lead to the knowledge and technologies required for long-duration space flight
  • Ensure the dissemination of knowledge to the scientific community;
  • Facilitate science community access to NASAs space biomedical research expertise and facilities;
  • Ensure that technology development and knowledge are transferred to the private sector.

The members of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute consortium, in addition to Baylor, are: Harvard Medical School; Johns Hopkins Universitys Applied Physics Laboratory; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Morehouse School of Medicine; Rice University; and Texas A & M University.

A five year cooperative agreement with three, five-year extensions will be awarded on June 1, 1997. The total value of the 20-year agreement is approximately $145 million.

NASA also announced the establishment of a new national microgravity center. Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) will partner with NASA's Lewis Research Center to create the National Center for Microgravity Research on Fluids and Combustion.

NASA will provide $17.8 million in funding over the next five years to support the center. The university-based science community will own and operate the center through USRA, a consortium of 80 colleges and universities.