Program Status: Closed
Program type(s): Fellowship,


The objective of the Graduate Research Fellowship program is to encourage graduate students to pursue research and careers in STEM fields that support NASA’s Mission Directorates.

Mallory Kinczyk, a 2019-20 Graduate Research Fellow, delivers a presentation about her research on impact craters.


Each year, NC Space Grant competitively awards Graduate Research Fellowships to students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields that support NASA’s Mission Directorates.

The NC Space Grant Graduate Research Fellowship program provides support for graduate students to supplement and enhance basic and/or applied research. The program requires that students participate in an active, defined research activity in STEM fields that have NASA Mission Directorate applications, inclusive of commercial space or at the U.S. National Lab on the International Space Station (ISS).

The research should be supervised by a faculty mentor, and may be conducted virtually, on the home campus in accordance with university policies, and/or at an industrial or government facility.

The research activity will be conducted over the course of a 12-month period, commencing June 1, 2022 and ending no later than May 30, 2023.

Award Level

This is a competitive scholarship program. Awards are based on merit, recognizing high academic achievement and promise.

NC Space Grant will grant $10,000 per award for up to 11 student awards. Funding for related travel should be considered within the total award package.

Awards are contingent upon receipt of NASA funding and the quality of submitted proposals.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must be enrolled full-time in a program of study in STEM and have a specific research project with NASA, commercial space, or ISS relevance.

NC Space Grant strongly encourages applications from graduate students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutions (MSIs) and/or from historically underserved and underrepresented communities.

The Graduate Research Fellowship applicant must be:


Application Instructions

Interested students must complete an online application. All information must be complete – including a faculty letter of recommendation – or the application will not be reviewed.

Please read all program guidelines, including Eligibility Requirements, Proposal Review and Evaluation Criteria, and Awardee Requirements before preparing and submitting your application.

Awards are based on research merit and promise, adherence to the instructions of this request for proposals (RFPs), and availability of federal funds.

Students will respond in short essay format to four (4) key questions in the online application. Maximum word counts are provided for each essay, which is indicted after each question in the online application system. Students can also view word counts in advance of registering in the system in the Sample Application available on the application website page.

  • Faculty Letter of Recommendation: Applicants should request that a faculty member write and submit a letter of recommendation that addresses knowledge of the student or level of confidence in the student’s ability to carry out the proposed research or, alternatively, a plan to guide the student’s STEM interests or research.
    • Applicants will provide the name and contact information for the faculty reference in their online application. NC Space Grant will contact the reference via email to request a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant. The reference will be provided with a link to submit the recommendation. For the application to be complete, the letter of recommendation must be submitted by the due date stated under the Deadlines section. NC Space Grant suggests that students contact the reference listed to notify him/her an email requesting this information on the student’s behalf is coming (from the address

Proposal Review and Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of academic and subject-matter professionals who are technically literate, but not necessarily experts in each proposed field of research. Applicants should present their research project in a way that will be understandable to a range of readers. Proposals will be evaluated and scored per the parameters below:

The selection of awarded proposals will reflect the full review process, panel recommendations, available funding, and current program priorities. Applicants should be aware that not all highly rated projects will be funded. NC Space Grant does not have sufficient funding to cover all the outstanding applications we receive.

Awardee Requirements

The Graduate Research Fellow must meet the following requirements:

Link to Full RFP

View the Request for Proposals here.

Application Information & Tips

Undergraduate and graduate students can learn more about funding requirements and the application process, plus hear answers to frequently asked questions.

NC Space Grant Student Funding Virtual Session

Recent Research Scholars

Read about the 2021-2022 Undergraduate and Graduate Research Scholars here.


Sandy Canfield, Assistant Director
NC Space Grant
(919) 515-5943