Challenge to Innovate: NASA Edition Terms and Conditions




Challenge to Innovate: NASA Edition (hereinafter, the “Program”) is an incubator program led by parallel18 and powered by Engine-4 that aims to support students from local universities as they commercialize a select group of NASA patents. It combines the superpowers of NASA’s patented technologies and expert support, with the know-how and structure of parallel18’s acceleration program and Engine-4’s prototyping capabilities. Challenge to Innovate: NASA Edition leverages the strengths of local university program curriculums and offers their students the right tools to catalyze a change in their mindset, from traditional to innovative, as they work to create viable commercialization plans for one of the available patents.

By supporting the most promising university students on the island, we’re also pushing forward Puerto Rico’s innovation ecosystem and positioning these students to pursue purpose-driven business ventures.




The main purpose is to provide local students with the necessary toolkit to tackle pressing needs in Puerto Rico in creative ways, hence establishing the foundations for innovation-based startups to emerge locally and grow to global markets. The industry tracks the student will work on with this goal in mind are Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Clean Energy.




  • Coach up to 65 students in best practices regarding customer discovery, product development, hardware prototyping and technology commercialization, hence contributing creative problem solving skills and a more innovative mindset to their professional development.
  • Teams, formed of three students each, will have developed and presented a complete business plan around one of the provided NASA patents, including a product roadmap to achieve a functional minimally viable product and financing proposal. The three teams with the most viable and innovative will be selected as winners.




Students that apply must be currently enrolled in a STEM-related university program pertaining to an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at the time of the application. Each candidate will apply as an individual. Moreover, teams of no more than three students will be formed once the Program kicks off. Participants applying to the program must be eighteen (18) years of age or older.

The following categories will be considered: 

4.1 Team lead (only one)

Each team will assign one team leader to serve as the point person for said team. The team lead will be the main point of contact between the Program and the team, and responsible for providing detailed reports on expenses and activities materialized by the team.

4.2 Team Member (two)

Teams must be composed of three participants, including one team lead and two members.




The Program will include a variety of activities and/or events, which will be made available to participants of each project, and among which a distinction will be made between mandatory and optional activities.

5.1 Mandatory Activities.

During participation in the 10-week Program and during the term of execution of the project, all team members must participate in the following mandatory activities:

  1. Full day kickoff event, which will entail the following:
    1. Program welcome orientation
    2. Presentations from organizing partners
    3. Team formation
  2. Mentor engagements, scheduled on the Saturday of every other week.
  3. Pitch Competition at the end of the program, during which team presentations will be evaluated and winners will be announced.
  4. Other activities within the Program that are designated as mandatory, a circumstance that will be communicated in advance to the team leader.  

If the team members do not participate in the activities and/or events specified herein without previous authorization to be excused, the Program may evaluate putting an early end to the student’s participation, depending on the reasons. 


  • Optional Activities.


Optionally, the team leader or team member may participate in and/or carry out the following activities, unless these have been categorized as mandatory, as set out in the previous subsection: 

    1. Prototyping Coworking Hours, during which participants will be offered equipment support at Engine-4. While optional, these office hours will be paramount to the successful completion of each team’s final  prototype. 
    2. Other activities: within the Program organized for the benefit of the teams and individual participants may become available throughout the duration of the Program.



Each team will have access to up to 500 USD in prototyping material expenses, including the basic materials purchased on behalf of the Program for each specific patented technology. If a team wishes to utilize these funds, the team lead must provide the Program representatives with an itemized invoice in order for the purchase to be made directly from the Program.

The funds will not be provided to the team lead or team members directly. Reimbursements to the team lead or team members will be evaluated if need be, but the team must have exhausted the primary form of expensing from the available amount described in the previous paragraph prior to requiring a reimbursement.


Both industry tracks, understood herein as being Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Clean Energy, will each have two NASA patents associated with them, disclosed to participants prior to Program kickoff. 

After teams are formed, each team will be responsible for communicating to parallel18 the patent for which they wish to develop a commercialization plan. Said plan can later be submitted to NASA’s Technology Transfer Program if the participants so wish in order to formally license the technology.

Participation in the Program in no way substitutes NASA’s licensing procedures. 

Participation in the program does not constitute a commitment to form a company or a business founder relationship with the other team members. At the end of the program period participants may engage in dialogue regarding the intention of moving forward with commercialization and ownership of the idea beyond the program.


The Program duration is 10 weeks and will be understood to have begun on the date established by parallel18 as orientation day. This date will be notified once the companies are selected.


9.1 Procedure

This Program will be made available to interested parties in the form of application to a competition.

Communication about the opening of a call for applications will be conducted by means of a notice published in the Program’s website and social media platforms.

9.2 Means of application.

Interested students may be entered solely through the electronic platform entry system available on the website:

Incomplete applications will be deemed not submitted.


Once the application period closes, applicants will be notified within two weeks regarding their acceptance status, as determined by the parallel18 and Engine-4 teams.

We want to ensure that the participants in Challenge to Innovate: NASA Edition are looking to be impactful members of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. This means that students have a clear motivation to take advantage of the Program’s resources to creatively commercialize NASA’s patented technology in a manner applicable to Puerto Rico’s current needs. Commitment and availability to consistently participate during the ten (10) weeks of Program engagements will determine whether the participant’s motives are clearly aligned with those of the Program.

  1. Does the candidate demonstrate genuine interest in becoming an active part of the entrepreneurship community?
  2. Will this candidate clearly benefit from and contribute to the community the Program aims to form?
  3. Does the candidate have the necessary background to tackle the challenge of commercializing and prototyping based on the provided NASA patents?
  4. Has the candidate clearly communicated their personal goals associated with their motivation to participate in the Program?
  5. Will this candidate be an active and valuable member of the P18 startup ecosystem, donating their skills and startup spirit productively?



Once the evaluation is concluded, the program will have 72 hours to inform the selected participants about the final decision and extend an offer to join the Program.


Upon the participant’s acceptance of the email offer to join the Program, which includes acknowledgement and full acceptance of Program Agreement including Program terms and conditions, the incubation process begins, which requires the execution of tasks by both the team members of the Project and by Program.


Upon program completion, teams will present their business models and prototypes to a panel of judges representative of the partner resources embodied by this Program, here understood to be Engine-4, NASA, and the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust. Said judges will select up to three winners, each of whom will receive a cash prize of up to two-thousand dollars (USD). 


Without prejudice to the other grounds for early termination set forth in these requirements, Program may adopt such a decision in the following cases, applying the sanctions detailed below:

14.1 Early termination of the project for reasons not attributable to the team members

Parallel18 may impose an early end to the project on its own initiative or at the request of the team members in the following situations:

  1. Failure to achieve critical results or continuity milestones established by Program and/or the team members, for reasons not attributable to the lack of diligence of the team members, duly qualified by parallel18.
  2. Having become convinced that the project will not achieve the expected results, that it cannot be executed within reasonable parameters, for reasons not attributable to the lack of diligence of the team members, duly qualified by parallel18. 
  3. Other causes not attributable to the team members’ lack of diligence in carrying out the activities related to the Program, duly qualified by parallel18.

If requested by the team members and accepted by Program, it shall be understood that the project has been finished early, from the date of the request.

The team lead must deliver a performance final report, within a reasonable period to be set out in the notification of early termination, which shall not exceed 30 days from the complete processing of the same, detailing prototyping expenses if applicable.

14.2 Early termination of the project by deed or act attributable to the team members

Parallel18 may put an early end to the project if the team fails to comply through negligence or lacks due diligence of its obligations. The following situations may constitute breach of the contract:

  1. Denial or hindrance of project monitoring.
  2. Non-compliance with critical results or continuity milestones established in the Program, for reasons attributable to the lack of diligence by the participants, duly qualified by the parallel18 team.
  3. Having become convinced that the project will not achieve the expected results or that it cannot be executed within reasonable parameters, for reasons attributable to a lack of diligence by the beneficiary, as duly qualified by parallel18.
  4. Other reasons attributable to the team members’ lack of diligence in carrying out their activities related to the Program, duly qualified by parallel18.



The participants warrant and represent to Parallel18 as follows:

15.1 The participants shall not violate any intellectual property rights, confidentiality, right of privacy or other right of any person or entity whomsoever.

15.2 The participants represent that the information provided by them to parallel18 and Engine-4 during the application and contracting phases is accurate and complete. Each participant understands that in the event he or she has failed to disclose any relevant information which may have impacted parallel18’s decision to accept them into the Program, or has provided false information, Parallel18 will be entitled to rescind the contract with immediate effect, in addition to any other remedies which parallel18 and its parent organization, the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, may have by contract or by law.

15.3 The participants understand that the Program’s structure entails the use of prototyping machinery as provided by Engine-4. The misuse of this machinery may lead to damage or injury to the participant and as such, all machinery is to be utilized responsibly and as indicated by the Engine-4 staff.


The participants shall be considered as having the legal status of an independent partner vis-à-vis parallel18 and Engine-4, and nothing contained in or relating to this agreement shall be construed as establishing or creating an employer/employee relationship with parallel18.

Parallel18 nor Engine-4 shall not be responsible for any loss, accident, damage or injury suffered by the participants, arising during or as a result of the Program, including travel, whether sustained on parallel18 or Engine-4’s premises or not.


The waiver by either Parallel18 or any participant of any provision or breach of these terms and conditions and, if selected, the contract, shall not prevent subsequent enforcement of such provision or excuse further breaches.


The participants hereby indemnify and hold the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust. parallel18 and Engine-4 harmless from and against the full amount of any and all claims and liabilities, including legal fees and costs, which are or may be made, filed or assessed against parallel18 or Engine-4 at any time and based on, or arising out of, breach by the participants of any of its representations or warranties under these terms and conditions and, if selected, the agreement, regardless of whether such representations and warranties are explicitly incorporated here in or are referred to in any attached Appendices.


The participants shall not assign, transfer, pledge or make any other disposition of the agreement or any part thereof, or any of their rights, claims or obligations under the agreement except with the prior written consent of parallel18.


Questions may be addressed to the following e-mail address: