Program Status: Closed
Program type(s): Competition, Team Challenge,


NC Space Grant awards funding to undergraduate/graduate teams to help them participate in national competitions either sponsored or sanctioned by NASA or another science technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related organization or industry. Examples of such competitions are NASA Student Launch Initiative, NASA Human Robotics Competition, Shell Eco-Challenge, AUVSI SUAS, etc. Competitions should be in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) and complement the academic studies of team members.

The UNC Charlotte 49er Miner Robotics Team present their robotic mining machine at the 2019 NC Space Symposium.
The UNC Charlotte 49er Miner Robotics Team at the 2019 NC Space Symposium


NC Space Grant invites faculty Principal Investigators (PIs) to propose collaborative team work experiences toward a challenge or competition, which must be named in proposal and take place within the period-of-performance of this award. NC Space Grant recognizes that some competitions may be modified (i.e., virtual or remote competition) due to the impacts of COVID-19. All proposers must adhere to state and college/university COVID-19 policies and for classwork, teamwork, labs, travel and any other competition/challenge guidelines. NC Space Grant should be notified of any impacts and changes in the proposed scope of work due to COVID COVID impacts.

Teams should be interdisciplinary in composition. Team members within different majors, departments, and/or with skills such as business and marketing, communications and social media, and education and outreach are encouraged. NC Space Grant strongly encourages teams to recruit and include members with diverse backgrounds and perspectives in alignment with our values of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and accessibility (DEIJA).


Competitions should be in the fields of engineering, science, technology and/or mathematics (STEM), and complement the academic studies of the team members. Competitions must provide students with a hands-on experiential learning opportunities related to one or more of NASA’s Mission Directorates.

NASA Mission Directorates include:

Award Details

How to Apply

Proposal Guidelines

All proposals must include the following information in the order noted below.  Proposals not meeting these requirements may not be considered.

Project Content (not to exceed 10 pages). Please note that guidelines have been updated.

1. Summary of the Team Competition.

Proposers shall state the defined goal or objective of the competition/challenge. Proposers must provide an active web link to the competition/challenge that will take place during the award period-of-performance (POP). NC Space Grant understands that some competition dates may extend slightly beyond the POP (e.g., into late August), which must be noted in the proposal.

2. Project Description.

Proposers shall provide a description of their project and how it meets the goal or objective of the competition/challenge.

Proposers shall describe significant tasks, milestones, requirement check-ins and competition dates. Images and tables are allowed to support the narrative.

3. Description of Team Goals and Learning Objectives.

Proposers shall provide one of the following.

A. For returning teams, a summary of the team’s past participation, lessons learned and planned adjustments, modifications, etc. for this cycle.

B. For new teams, a description why a competition/challenge was selected and what the team hopes to learn and accomplish.

4. Alignment to a NASA Mission Objective

Proposers must describe how their project is aligned to a NASA Mission Directorate:

5. Summary of Team Composition and/or Member Recruitment.

A narrative description and/or a table with student team information, e.g., names, majors and/or skills sets (e.g., electrical engineering, computer programming, biology, atmosphere science, etc.) and/or team roles and responsibilities (e.g., club president, team leader, task lead, documentation lead, social media lead, public outreach coordinator, etc.) is required. Teams are encouraged to consider roles for non-STEM team members, such as fundraising, outreach and education, communications and social media, etc.

If the composition of the team is unknown at the time of proposal submission, the proposer MUST describe anticipated student recruitment efforts. NC Space Grant values diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and accessibility (DEIJA) for team members. Teams with diverse composition will be more favorably reviewed.

Refer to the section below, Required Reporting, for the Student Data Table and other reporting requirements. Please note that student data tables are required for all NASA funding and reporting under this grant.

6. Outreach Plan.

Outreach is not required in all competition/challenge guidelines; however, it is the mission of NC Space Grant to engage and inspire the next generation of explorers. Therefore, teams that include an outreach component to pre-college and/or public audiences will be more favorably reviewed. Proposers should include a description of in-person outreach and/or online/remote learning tools (proposers must strictly adhere to COVID-19 policies at their institutions and for targeted outreach). This is an opportunity for teams to be creative, such as using an authorized YouTube channel, an online demo or launch, shared open-source materials, etc.

Additional Required Content (no page limit unless otherwise noted):

7. Curriculum Vitae of the Faculty Principal Investigator (PI) (2 pages max).

8. Letter of Support from the Department Chair/Head that outlines the importance of the proposed project to the department and/or the direction of the university.

From the Department Chair/Head that outlines the importance of the proposed project to the department and/or the direction of the university.

9. Budget and Budget Narrative that includes a required one-to-one (1:1) cost match (use budget template in Appendix A). Funds can be used to purchase supplies and materials to support the team project, cover registration, and/or pay travel expenses. NASA grant funds cannot be used to purchase equipment. NC Space Grant does not allow facilities and administrative (F&A) costs. Unrecovered F&A costs may be used for required cost-matching. We strongly recommend that cost-match not exceed the $5,000 awardsince proposers will be obligated to report all proposed cost-match. PIs are responsible for following all internal institutional guidelines for committing to cost-share, including necessary approvals.              


Required Reporting

Please note that reporting requirements have been changed from previously released RFPs due to changes within NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement reporting requirements, which NC Space Grant is obligated to meet.

1.  A student participant data table is required. Data tables shall be submitted in accordance with NASA reporting guidelines and due dates. Therefore, student data tables must be submitted to NC Space Grant by Feb. 15, 2022.

NOTE: The collection and submission of student data is a REQUIREMENT of the NASA Office of STEM Engagement in order for NC Space Grant to receive annual funding. As a result, all NC Space Grant funded projects MUST report student participant data (names, dates of birth, gender, ethnicity, email address and field of study, etc.). To protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII), NC Space Grant utilizes reporting systems that are FERPA compliant and meet or exceed the United States Department of Education Privacy Technical Assistance Center and the Student Privacy Policy Office data security recommendations.

2.  A progress report is due at the end of the academic year, May 31, 2022. This report should include a description of progress toward significant tasks, milestones, requirement check-ins, etc. If the competition has taken place, results should be reported, as well as feedback from students (e.g., qualitative data or quotes) about their experience. The report shall also note any changes to the student participant data table. NC Space Grant should be notified of any impacts and changes in the proposed scope of work due to COVID impacts.

3.  A final report due no more than 30 days after completion of the period of performance (i.e., no later than Aug. 15, 2022). PIs should add on to their existing Progress Report, such as competition results (i.e., don’t start a new report, just add on to the Progress Report that you already submitted and rename it as “Final”). The report should also include any last changes to the student participant data table. Please note that some competition dates will take place after the grant period of performance. In those cases, teams MUST submit an amendment to their final report following the challenge or competition. NC Space Grant should be notified of any impacts and changes in the proposed scope of work due to COVID impacts.

Awardee Expectations

Full Request for Proposals (PDF)

Link to the full RFP


For questions related to this solicitation, please contact:

Sandy Canfield
Assistant Director