NASA Seeks Proposals For Space Technology Research Institutes

Image Credit: NASA

Image Credit: NASA

July 7, 2016 – NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is seeking proposals from universities to complement the individual research grants and project opportunities already offered in its programs with the addition of Space Technology Research Institutes (STRI) — larger, multi-disciplinary, university-led research efforts.

The solicitation, entitled Space Technology Research Institutes Appendix, seeks STRIs in the following two technology areas: Bio-Manufacturing for Deep Space Exploration, and Computationally Accelerated Materials Development for Ultra High Strength Lightweight Structures.

The STRI construct enables coordination of experts from a wide range of fields and organizations in a single distributed research structure. For research areas of overlapping interest, this approach could significantly increase partnerships between NASA, other government agencies, industry, and academia, enabling greater progress and benefit for all involved.

“STRIs will enable universities to focus on high priority research for several years, and allows NASA to streamline and efficiently direct its funding in specific technology areas,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for STMD. “This approach facilitates a more focused and coordinated set of research and technology development efforts than typically arise from a series of separate solicitations and individual grants.”

STRIs will strengthen NASA’s ties to the academic community through long-term investment in research and technology development critical to the space agency’s future. The research institutes have the potential to increase the cadre of STMD researchers by involving experts and/or organizations that do not typically work closely with NASA. Their different perspectives and new approaches could lead to exciting new solutions and advances.

STRIs also will enhance the capabilities of U.S. universities, and improve their contributions to meet the needs of NASA’s science and technology programs. These investments will also create, fortify, and nurture the talent base of highly skilled engineers, scientists, and technologists to improve America’s technological and economic competitiveness.

Only accredited U.S. universities are eligible to submit proposals to this solicitation. The proposal principal investigator or STRI director must be a tenured faculty member or untenured, tenure-track faculty member in an engineering or science department at the lead university.

The submission process will be a two-step process: preliminary proposals are mandatory, and submission of subsequent full proposals will be by invitation only. Notices of Intent to submit proposals to the STRI Appendix are due July 14. Preliminary proposals will be due July 28. Based on the review of preliminary proposals, invitations to submit full proposals are expected on August 18. The full solicitation schedule may be found in the Appendix. STMD expects to make up to two awards, each valued up to $15 million over the five-year period of performance.

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