CASIS And National Science Foundation Announce New Funding Opportunity


November 30, 2016 – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced a joint solicitation wherein researchers will have the ability to leverage resources onboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory in the fields of combustion and thermal transport. Up to $1.8 million will be awarded for multiple research investigations to support flight projects to the ISS National Laboratory.

Through this partnership, CASIS and NASA will facilitate hardware implementation and on-orbit access to the ISS National Laboratory. NSF will fund the selected projects to advance fundamental science and engineering knowledge. CASIS is the nonprofit organization responsible for managing and promoting research onboard the ISS National Laboratory. NSF supports transformative research to help drive the U.S. economy, enhance national security and maintain America’s position as a global leader in innovation.

The unique high-quality and long-duration microgravity environment on the ISS National Laboratory has many benefits for the study of combustion and thermal transport phenomena. Many processes that affect the behavior of systems on Earth, such as thermal convection, sedimentation, hydrostatic pressure, and buoyancy, are absent in microgravity. The elimination of these variables allows phenomena of interest to be studied without gravitational interference. This is the second joint solicitation between NSF and CASIS; the first focused on fluid dynamics projects, which were awarded in September.

Through this solicitation, CASIS and NSF seek proposals that will evaluate phenomena such as, but not limited to: combustion (all phases), fire safety, convective (forced) flow, phase change, radiation, diffusion, interfacial behavior, and surface tension. Studies in these fields could have significant applications for many industries, such as: clean energy, carbon emissions and capture, manufacturing, machinery, consumer products, oil & gas, electronics, medical devices & pharmaceuticals, and microfluidics. All proposals must demonstrate a tangible benefit to improving life on Earth.

“Microgravity provides a unique and exciting setting to investigate combustion-related phenomena,” said CASIS Chief Scientist Dr. Randy Giles. “Over the past few years, both CASIS and NASA have been very interested in exploring this area and we look forward to working with the NSF to build on research of the past to influence opportunities onboard the ISS National Lab for the future.”

“A fundamental understanding of how heat is transferred through matter is critically important to the development of new technologies, from medical devices to communications systems,” said Grace Wang, acting NSF Assistant Director for Engineering. “Similarly, combustion plays a critical role in energy conversion, from traditional systems to novel propulsion devices. Space-based studies allow researchers to investigate phenomena without the interference of gravity, which has a tremendous influence on combustion and thermal processes. The research has the potential to advance our knowledge of these important processes and benefit life on Earth.”

Prior to submitting a full to proposal to NSF, all interested parties must submit a Preliminary Feasibility Review form to CASIS, which will determine the operational feasibility and economic merit of the proposed project. CASIS will notify the proposer of a passing or failing review score within 28 days of the Preliminary Feasibility Review form being submitted; therefore, CASIS strongly encourages interested parties to submit the review form no later than February 1, 2017. Only projects that pass the CASIS Preliminary Feasibility Review will be invited to submit a full proposal to NSF. The notification of a passing score must be included in the full proposal submission. NSF will close this grant solicitation on March 10, 2017.

To learn more about the on-orbit capabilities of the ISS, including past research initiatives and available facilities, visit:

To learn more about the funding opportunity, view the full proposal solicitation via the NSF Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems.