Faculty Research Grant
This program is closed.
Tenure-track or research faculty members qualified to serve as the PI from an accredited four-year college or university in NC
New research projects or research direction that meaningfully engages students in NASA-related research.
The North Carolina Space Grant (NC Space Grant) Faculty Research Grant is designed to provide support for faculty and the students they engage in their research. This award is aimed at both emerging and established researchers who wish to pursue new research directions, develop new projects, engage more students in their research, and/or cultivate new collaborations to align their work with that of National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) related Mission Directorates.
The goals of the Faculty Research Grant are to incentivize faculty to:
- Develop new research projects or research directions related to NASA;
- Meaningfully engage undergraduate and/or graduate students in their research endeavors; and
- Cultivate collaboration among new partners (e.g., universities and colleges, NASA centers, federal laboratories or research facilities, the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, commercial space and other industry partners, formal and informal education partners, state and local government agencies, etc.).
Recognizing that some faculty and student populations and institutions have historically been underserved and underrepresented within research opportunities and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, NC Space Grant encourages submissions that encourage and enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility (DEIJA).
The National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (Space Grant) was established by Congress under Title II of the NASA Authorization Act of 1988. Today the national Space Grant program includes over 1,000 partners from universities, colleges, industry, museums, science centers, and state and local government agencies. These partners work together to expand opportunities for U.S. Citizens to understand and participate in NASA’s aeronautics and space projects by supporting and enhancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, research and public outreach efforts.
NC Space Grant is a state-federal partnership with NASA. NC Space Grant has been administered at NC State University since 1991 and has provided leadership in strengthening connections with NASA’s research, technology, and science missions.
NC Space Grant strives to inspire and engage North Carolinians to explore the universe and our own planet by capitalizing on NASA’s unique contributions in exploration and discovery. The mission of NC Space Grant is to utilize NASA-related STEM opportunities to engage and inspire North Carolinians and to build a diverse future STEM workforce. To do this, programs are conducted in areas of fellowships, scholarships, education, research, and public service to promote, develop, and support aeronautics and space-related STEM training and programs.
It is a national and NC Space Grant priority to increase diversity in STEM, from university students, faculty, and staff to industry employees. Traditionally, minority groups and women have been underrepresented in the STEM disciplines as students and faculty, as well as in the workplace after graduation. NC Space Grant champions diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility (DEIJA) by proactively recruiting and training a diverse student and faculty population, as well as engaging a diverse range of public audiences across the state. We engage and serve communities that are representative of the populations where our programs operate.
Project Overview and Guidelines
Funding and Performance Period
Space Grant may award up to four (4) Faculty Research Grants subject to sufficient federal funding and the quality of the received proposals. Applicants whose final proposal has been accepted may be asked to revise scopes of work, start and end dates, and budgets to align with available funding.
The Faculty Research Grant will be awarded for no more than a one-year (12 month) period of performance (POP) at a level of up to $20,000 per award. The period of performance is June 1, 2024 – May 31, 2025. No-cost extensions will NOT be allowed since this is the close-out year of the NASA Grant. A costing schedule is required by NASA (Appendix C) to estimate spend-downs by the close of the POP.
Non-federal matching funds are required and must equal at least 50 percent of the federal funding request (i.e., for every one federal dollar, 50 cents match is required (0.5:1)). This cost-match should be demonstrated in the proposed budget. Facilities and Administrative (F&A or overhead) costs are not allowed. Even though indirect costs (IDC) may not be charged, they may be included as unrecovered IDC costs as part of the match requirement.
As required by NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM), all NC Space Grant-supported projects must respond to a semi-annual data call, as well as submit a final project report (details in Section 7). Semi-annual data calls must include student demographic data; a list of all publications, proposals, presentations, patents, etc.; and information about key project activities, milestones, and/or deviations from the initial proposal.
- This solicitation is open to faculty members from all four-year accredited colleges and universities in the State of North Carolina, public or private.
- Only tenure-track or research faculty at the level of assistant professor or higher are eligible to apply.
- Awardees must be qualified to serve as a principal investigator (PI) at their respective institution.
- PIs who previously received a Faculty Research Grant under the last cycle (2022–2024) are not eligible to apply, since their research direction is no longer new. Prior applicants may be able to apply in future cycles assuming all other requirements are met.
- Faculty members participating in the Faculty Research Grant are not required to be U.S. citizens.
- Any student(s) supported with award funds must be a U.S. citizen(s).
- Submission is limited to one proposal per PI. There can only be one PI per project proposal. Although this grant encourages cross-institutional collaboration, only one PI may be funded (e.g., to travel to another lab or facility to participate in research).
Recognizing that some faculty and students populations and institutions have historically been underserved and underrepresented within research opportunities and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, NC Space Grant encourages submissions that encourage and enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility (DEIJA). NC Space Grant strongly encourages proposals from females and underrepresented minority groups.
For all application guidelines and details, read the full request for proposal.
Full proposals will be submitted using an online proposal-management system portal.
The deadline for proposals is 5 p.m. EST, Thursday, November 30, 2023. The portal will automatically close after this time. Please do not wait to the last minute to start your application process and/or submit your materials. We will not be able to extend the deadline for anyone for any reason.
All elements of the proposal must be combined into a single PDF document. A complete application package includes:
- A signed Title Page (PI and authorizing official)
- Project Description (10 page maximum)
- Detailed Student Engagement Plan (1 page maximum)
- Project Timeline for Key Activities and Milestones (1 page maximum)
- References Cited (pages as needed)
- Current and Pending Support (1 page maximum)
- Curriculum Vitae for the PI (2-page limit)
- Letter(s) of Support (pages as needed)
- Budget and Budget Narrative (2 page limit)
- Recommended Reviewers (1 page limit)
- Data Management Plan (2-page limit)
The following guidelines and restrictions apply to all proposals. Proposals not meeting these requirements will not be considered.
- Proposals must be submitted in PDF format.
- Proposals must adhere to the following format: 1-inch margins all around, Times New Roman 12-point font, page numbers starting with the cover page as Page 1, and strict page limits as listed above.
- Proposals should contain only the requested sections.
Some examples of factors to consider in highly competitive proposals: technical and scientific merit, research under a NASA Mission Directorate, justification for a new research direction, meaningful student engagement, encouraging and enhancing DEIJA, collaborative partnerships, and a budget that appropriately uses funds to complete the work. This is not an all-inclusive list.
Title Page (1 page)
The cover page must include the following items: project title; period of performance (June 1, 2024 – May 31, 2025); total budget request (up to $20,000); PI’s name, institution, address, phone, and email; signatures from the PI and an authorizing official at the proposing institution (e.g., sponsored research or grant office); and the funding opportunity name (NC Space Grant Faculty Research Grant).
Project Description (10 pages maximum)
PIs are expected to use funds to further establish their professional career through new research projects or research direction related to a NASA Mission Directorate, inclusive of the International Space Station (ISS) or commercial space partners.
The goals of the Faculty Research Grant are to incentivize faculty to:
- Develop new research projects or research directions;
- Meaningfully engage undergraduate and/or graduate students in their research endeavors; and
- Cultivate collaboration among new partners (e.g., universities and colleges, NASA centers, federal laboratories or research facilities, the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Lab, commercial space and other industry partners, formal and informal education partners, state and local government agencies, etc.).
This section should include the following:
- Detailed description of the proposed research goals;
- An explanation of how the project, research, student engagement, and/or collaboration is new to the PI and why this is important;
- Relevance of proposed research to NASA Mission Directorates (Appendix A) and NC Space Grant’s strategic plan (Appendix B);
- A description of how Faculty Research Grant funding will impact the PIs’s new research project or direction; and
- How award funds will be leveraged to obtain and sustain research funding (and from what source(s)).
Detailed Student Engagement Plan (1 page maximum)
NASA is committed to student participation in research. It is strongly encouraged that undergraduate and/or graduate students be significantly engaged. As defined by NASA, significant engagement is a monetary award or experience which includes one or more of the following: (a) has a value of greater than or equal to $3,000 and/or (b) participation of greater than or equal to 160 hours. All students supported by NASA funds must be U.S. citizens. This section should include a description of how students will be significantly engaged; an estimate of student funding and/or contact hours; a timeline for recruiting and engaging students; the number of students engaged (significantly or otherwise) in research efforts; and any pertinent student demographics (if known).
Implementation Timeline (1 page maximum)
Include a timeline that illustrates and/or describes deadlines, critical milestones, and other important dates within the 12-month period of performance.
References Cited (no max limit)
Use a standard bibliographic format to list the references cited in your proposal.
Current and Pending Support (1 page maximum)
Identify current and pending support of the PI including: source of support, project title, amount of award, period covered by award, months or percent of time committed by the PI during the award period, and location of research.Describe past projects supported by NC Space Grant (if applicable).
Curriculum Vitae (2 pages per CV)
The PI must include a Curriculum Vitae (CV) that includes their professional experience and positions. A CV should also be included for any partner from a collaborating NASA center/organization/company who will play a key role on the grant (e.g., main point of contact at a collaborating institution), and may not exceed two pages per CV.
Letters of Support (Pages as needed)
Letters of support may be from a university or college dean or department head, for example, in support of the change of research direction from the PI. A letter of support should also be included from any key collaborator(s) (e.g., universities and colleges, NASA, federal laboratories or research facilities, the ISS U.S. National Lab, commercial space and other industry partners, formal and informal education partners, state and local government agencies, etc.). Letters should outline the importance of the proposed research and the nature of the relationship under this grant (an email from the collaborator is acceptable). If this grant is intended to establish a new partnership, a letter of intent can be submitted that establishes the nature of the intended partnership and initial steps to be taken, which may or may not include resource commitments (e.g., human, assets, or financial).
Budget and Budget Narrative (4 page maximum)
Provide detailed budget information using the format outlined in Appendix C, as well as a Budget Narrative, or justification. A quarterly costing schedule is required by NASA in this close out year of the award. Cost-share requirements must be shown as required (50% non-federal matching funds).
Specific budget details are noted below:
- Direct salary (or stipend) expenses for PI and students should be separated by title or role with hours, rates, and total amounts for each person.
- Proposed travel (limited to within the US) should include the number of trips, destination, duration, etc. at state per diem rates.
- All students (graduate and/or undergraduate) supported must be U.S. citizens.
- Funds cannot be used to purchase equipment. Funds can be used to purchase supplies and materials.
- Overhead costs are not allowed. Unrecovered facilities and administrative costs, however, may be used for required cost-matching.
- The detailed budget must include a description of the required 50% non-federal matching funds.
- Unrecovered salary and travel can be used to meet the cost-match requirement.
- Utilization of funds solely for the purpose of supplementing summer salaries is discouraged.
Name and current contact information for at least four (4) suggested reviewers of this proposal who are considered as experts or knowledgeable in the area of research. Do not list individuals with known conflicts of interests.
Data Management Plan (2 pages maximum)
Consistent with the NASA Plan for Increasing Access to Results of Federally Funded Research, new terms and conditions about making manuscripts and data publically accessible may be attached to NASA awards. Some proposals may be required to provide a Data Management Plan (DMP) or an explanation of why one is not necessary given the nature of the work proposed. Any research project that does not require a DMP to be submitted shall be explicitly indicated. The type of proposal that requires a DMP is described in the NASA Plan for Increasing Access to Results of Scientific Research (see link below): https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/206985_2015_nasa_plan-for-web.pdf
Proposals must be submitted via the online application system by 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 30, 2023 at:
One complete, single electronic file in PDF format is required; authorized college/university signature is required on the cover page.
Proposals will be reviewed by out-of-state peers who are experienced in relevant NASA STEM fields, but not necessarily experts in each proposed field of research. Proposals will be evaluated for technical/scientific merit; alignment to NASA mission directorates and the NC Space Grant strategic plan; student engagement (with DEIJA consideration); and budget. Proposals will be scored as per the following parameters:
- Scientific and technical merit of the research goals and plan. (25%)
- Probability of the project to develop new capabilities and/or the potential to increase involvement in newly funded NASA-related research for the PI. (25%)
- Involvement of students (graduate and/or undergraduate) in research. Encouraging and enhancing student DEIJA is encouraged. (25%)
- Alignment of research to NASA Mission Directorates and NC Space Grant’s Strategic Plan. (10%)
- Budget alignment to research plan, costing schedule, and satisfying the cost-match requirement. (10%)
- Letters of support. (5%)
Recognizing that some faculty and students populations and institutions have historically been underserved and underrepresented within research opportunities and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, NC Space Grant encourages submissions that encourage and enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility (DEIJA).
Proposals recommended to NC Space Grant for funding will reflect reviewer recommendations, available funding, encouraging and enhancing faculty and student DEIJA, and current program priorities. Applicants should be aware that not all highly rated projects will be funded. NC Space Grant does not have enough funding to cover all the outstanding applications we receive.
Reporting and Data Requests
Awardees are required to maintain and provide data necessary for NC Space Grant to report to the NASA Office of Education’s online Gateway System or other federally required data reporting. This data typically includes, but is not limited to, description of work performed; evaluation of the impact of work performed; number of students, educators, and/or the general public involved; gender/ethnic breakdown, birth date and contact information (email) of all significantly engaged students; list of papers published, patents, presentations given, conferences hosted/attended, etc. This information may be requested at any time throughout the award period.
Any peer-reviewed scientific research publications authored or co-authored by investigators funded, in whole or in part by NASA, are required to ensure that those publications are submitted to PubMed Central system at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
A semi-annual report is due no later than 5pm, Friday, November 3, 2024. A student data table is required at this time for required NASA reporting. Data tables shall be submitted in accordance with required NASA reporting guidelines. Tables may include information such as: student name, contact email, intuitional affiliation, major and minor, academic status, gender, ethnicity, race, disability, military service, date of birth, mentor name email, contact hours, award level ($). PIs are required to submit information on any peer-reviewed scientific research publications authored or co-authored by investigators funded, in whole or in part, by NASA. The PI is also required to submit a list of patents, presentations, conferences hosted/attended, public outreach events, etc. that have occurred as part of this award.
A final report is due within 30 days of the POP. The report must contain the following:
- An executive summary of the project that highlights results, conclusions, and impacts. The summary should be written for consumption by general audiences and easy conversion into an NC Space Grant communications product, such as a blog post and/or social media posts. The executive summary should be between 500 and 1,500 words.
- Statement on how funding assisted the PI.
- A final data table of all students involved in the award with complete required data.
- List of papers submitted for publication that are relevant to the research performed during the period of this award. Include title, publication, date of publication, author list, and an electronic copy of the paper.
- List of all presentations delivered during the period of this award. Include presentation title, event, location, and date.
- List of all proposals submitted during the period of this award that are relevant to the research performed. Include proposal title, announcement of funding opportunity title, name of sponsor, amount of proposal, proposal due date, role of investigator, and funding status.
- A list of all patents that were applied for and/ or approved during the period of this award.
- List of pending and actual support for PI. Include source, PI, percentage of time, and role of PI.
- Any high-resolution photos of the researcher, research team, research in progress, etc., suitable for sharing in blog posts and on social media.
Any peer-reviewed scientific research publications authored or co-authored by investigators funded, in whole or in part, by NASA are required to ensure that those publications are submitted to the PubMed Central system at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
Acknowledgment of Support and Communications
An acknowledgment of NC Space Grant support (logo and/or written) must appear in all publications, posters presentations, etc. of any material based on this funding in the following terms: “Supported by NC Space Grant.”
Awardees are required to interact with the NC Space Grant communications specialist (Sascha Medina, email@example.com) to translate the findings of their research into a communications product(s) (e.g. news article, guest blog post, social media posts, etc.).
Optional: Attend the NC Space Symposium tentatively scheduled for April 2025.
Audit and Records
Financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, and other material pertinent to this grant shall be retained by the grantee for a period of at least three years following submission of the final project report and shall be made available to NC Space Grant upon request.
Contingent upon NC Space Grant’s receipt of funds, a sub-agreement will be established between the grantee’s institution and NC State University. The grantee institution shall receive payments under this grant through that institution’s Office of Sponsored Programs or equivalent grant office. Invoices must be submitted no later than 30 days after the last day of the month in which the expense was incurred. Late invoices may not be honored.
Notification of Absence
NC Space Grant shall be notified prior to the faculty PI’s absence from campus for a period of four months or more.
Transfer of Awards
If the faculty PI leaves the grantee institution or otherwise relinquishes active direction of the project, the institution must notify NC Space Grant as soon as possible. Awards may not be transferred if the PI leaves the grantee institution.
Suspension or Termination
This grant may be suspended or terminated if the grantee fails to comply with all the terms and conditions of the grant.
No person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under this grant on grounds of race, color, national origin, religious affiliation, physical disability, gender, or sexual orientation.
Compliance with Regulations
The investigator must abide by all state and federal regulations related to research.
Point of Contact
Sandy Canfield, Assistant Director