Undergraduate Research Scholarships engage the future STEM workforce in basic and/or applied NASA-related research projects.
East Carolina University Student Angel Chukwu Researched Additive Manufacturing
Each year, NC Space Grant awards Undergraduate Research Scholarships to students who are pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields that support NASA’s Mission Directorates. This competitively awarded program engages the future STEM workforce in basic and/or applied NASA-related research projects.
The Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program requires that students participate in an active, defined research activity in STEM that has 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, 2021 and ending no later than May 30, 2022.
NC Space Grant will grant $8,000 per student for up to 10 student awards. Funding for related travel should be considered within the total award package.
This is a competitive scholarship program supported by NASA and the State of North Carolina. Awards are based on merit, recognizing high academic achievement and promise.
Awards are made annually. Students may earn up to two awards as an undergraduate.
Awards are contingent upon receipt of NASA funding and the quality of submitted proposals.
Applicants must be enrolled full-time in a program of study in STEM and have a specific, research project relevant to a NASA Mission Directorate, commercial space, and/or the ISS U.S. National Lab.
NC Space Grant strongly encourages applications from undergraduate students at HBCUs and MSIs and/or from traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities.
The Undergraduate Research Scholarship applicants must meet the following requirements:
Interested students must complete an online application. All information must be complete – including 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 RFP, and availability of federal funds.
Students are requested to respond in short essay format to these key components of the application.
1. Research Description and Goals: In your own words, describe the research project that you will be conducting. The description should include but not be limited to a) a description of the research, b) research goals, and c) a plan to carry out the research (e.g., methodology, timeline, etc.).
2. Alignment of Research to NASA Mission Directorates and the NC Space Grant Strategic Plan: Identify which NASA Mission Directorate your research project aligns with and describe how your research will contribute to the mission of that Directorate, commercial space, or the ISS. Describe how your research project supports the NC Space Grant Mission and Strategic Plan.
3. STEM Research: Describe your interests in a NASA-related STEM field of study and how this research project supports this pursuit.
4. Anticipated Impacts: Describe how the proposed research project will be a springboard to pursuing your future academic and/or career interests and pathways, i.e., what new skills or information will you obtain from this project that will impact your pursuits?
Faculty Recommendation Letter: Applicants should request 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 of his/her research mentor. NC Space Grant will contact the reference via email to request a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant. 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. NC Space Grant suggests that applicants contact the reference listed and inform them that they will receive an email requesting this information on their behalf (email@example.com).
University Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts from all institutions and from the current institution with grades through fall 2020 are required and can be submitted as a PDF in the online application. If the applicant is selected to receive the award, official transcripts will be required at time of acceptance. If the applicant does not have a PDF conversion tool, links to free on-line PDF converters are provided within the application.
View the full Request for Proposals here.
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 for technical and scientific merit which will be scored per the parameters below:
The selection of awarded proposals will reflect the full external 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 enough funding to cover all the outstanding applications that we receive.
Read about the 2020 – 2021 Undergrad and Graduate Researchers here.
Sandy Canfield, Assistant Director
NC Space Grant