Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Funding Opportunities for non-R1 Institutions

AstronomyFunding Opportunities for non-R1 Institutions

By Padi Boyd, NASA Headquarters

Learn about the NASA SMD Bridge Program at the Summer AAS meeting in Wisconsin!

The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Bridge Program’s primary goal is to develop sustainable partnerships between NASA science and engineering researchers and faculty and students at institutions historically under-resourced by NASA. These institutions include Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs) such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Primarily Black Institutions (PBIs), and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and also Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) and community colleges. These research collaborations include faculty and NASA researchers and paid student research opportunities, with the goal of transitioning the students from undergraduate studies into graduate schools and/or employment by NASA or other STEM employment.

A unique element of the program is that it is being co-created with the community it seeks to serve. A community workshop in October 2022 gathered together hundreds of community members to understand the current landscape at a variety of under-resourced institutions (URIs), as identified above. Themes and perspectives from the workshop have provided a foundation for establishing funding opportunities in the Bridge Program. Importantly, the key takeaways from the workshop were

  • To build research capacity, the ideal NASA Bridge Program would center the needs of students, faculty, and institutions that have been historically and systematically marginalized.

  • The ideal NASA Bridge Program would lead a paradigm shift by assuming primary responsibility for building impactful relationships/partnerships with marginalized and underserved communities  to diversify its workforce and the STEM community.

Common themes from the workshop include

  • the need for NASA to help facilitate new partnerships where no NASA collaboration currently exists. 

  • the importance of strong positive mentorship in developing students into STEM professionals, as well as the impacts of poor mentorship on retention of STEM students. 

A report from the workshop is public and available on the SMD Bridge website. Workshop content, including agenda, and recordings are available on the workshop website

Members of the SMD Bridge Program team have organized a special session for the Summer AAS meeting in Madison at

10 am – 11:30 am on Tuesday, June 11

Ballroom C

We’re looking forward to sharing an overview of the program, presenting some examples of newly selected teams who have received seed funding to initiate research partnerships between a wide variety of URIs across seven NASA Centers, and providing updates on current and future funding opportunities through NASA SMD’s Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES) omnibus solicitation. Everyone is welcome to attend!

A list of other DEIA and Education activities at the AAS meeting can be found here.

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