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 by another STEM-related organization. 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.

NC Space Grant recognizes that this academic year, some competitions may be significantly modified, delayed or postponed due to the impacts of COVID-19. NC Space Grant will allow teams to propose collaborative team work experiences that build toward an anticipated future competition (must be named in proposal). All proposers must adhere to state and college/university COVID-19 policies and procedures for classwork, teamwork, labs, travel and any other competition/challenge guidelines.

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


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 Level

A team may apply for only one award. However, the same college or university may apply for multiple awards as long as funds are used for different challenges or competitions.

The period of performance for this project is Nov. 1, 2020 to July 15, 2020 (approximately 9 months).

Teams may complete after the end of the award period of performance but all funds MUST be spent in advance of July 15, 2020.

How to Apply

The deadline for proposals has passed. We look forward to receiving your teams proposal in the 2021-22 academic year.

Award announcements will be made on approximately Oct. 26, 2020. Projects selected for funding will receive a sub-award through the PI institution’s Office of Sponsored Research.

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).

1. Summary of the Team Competition.

Proposers shall state the overall goal or purpose of the competition/challenge. Proposers MUST provide a web link to the current (or past) competition/challenge.

2. Overview of the STEM-Based Team Project and its Alignment to a NASA Mission Directorate.

Proposers shall give an overview of their project (i.e., the main STEM-based task or tasks) and how it is aligned to a NASA Mission Directorate. NASA Mission Directorates include:

3. Description of Team Goals and Learning Objectives.

Proposers shall provide 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. Project Timeline.

Significant goals, deadlines, requirements and competition dates.

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

A narrative description or table with student team information, e.g., names, majors and/or skills sets (e.g., electrical engineering, computer programming, etc.) and team roles and responsibilities (e.g., club president, team leader, task lead, documentation, etc.). Teams should consider adding roles for non-STEM team members, such as fundraising, outreach and education, social media, etc.

If the composition of the team is unknown, the proposer MUST describe student recruitment efforts, including steps that will be taken to encourage diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) of team members. Teams with diverse composition will be more favorably reviewed.

Refer to the section below, Awardee Expectations, for student data table reporting requirements for the final report.

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.

9. Budget and Budget Narrative with request not to exceed $5,000. 

A one to one cost-match is required (use budget template in Appendix A of the RFP).  Funds can be used to purchase supplies and materials to support the team project, cover registration, and/or 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.

Eligibility Requirements

Awardee Expectations

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 complete a final report that includes 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

Full Request for Proposal (PDF)

Link to the full RFP


For questions related to this solicitation, please contact :

Sandy Canfield
Assistant Director