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University Leadership Initiative More Information

Group photo of students from Carnegie Mellon University standing in front of a 3D printer.
Students from Carnegie Mellon University who were selected to participate in NASA’s University Leadership Initiative are shown standing in front of a sophisticated 3D printer they will use to explore new methods for manufacturing aircraft components.
CMU / Anthony Rollett

NASA’s University Leadership Initiative (ULI) provides an opportunity for the U.S. university community to receive NASA funding and take the lead in building their own teams and setting their own research agenda with goals that support and complement the agency’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate and its Strategic Implementation Plan.

By addressing the most complex challenges associated with NASA Aeronautics research goals, universities will accelerate progress toward achievement of high impact outcomes while leveraging their capability to bring together the best and brightest minds across many disciplines. In order to transition their research – a key goal for all ULI teams – participants are expected to actively explore transition opportunities and pursue follow-on funding from stakeholders and industrial partners during the course of the award.

Proposing institutions are invited and encouraged to incorporate other colleges or universities, industry members, non-profit organizations, or other U.S.-based entities as team members. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and other minority-serving institutions are strongly encouraged to participate.

An important part of the leadership role assumed by proposing organizations involves including, nurturing, and fully integrating the capabilities of partner schools that may be less established or have less prior experience working on NASA Aeronautics research projects.

ULI Strategic Goals

Make a Difference

Achieving aviation outcomes defined in the ARMD Strategic Implementation Plan through NASA-complementary research.

Transitioning Research

Research results to an appropriate range of stakeholders that lead to a continuation of the research.

Our Future Workforce

Broad opportunities for students at different levels, including graduate and undergraduate, to participate in aeronautics research.

Promoting Diversity

Greater diversity in aeronautics through increased participation of minority-serving institutions and underrepresented university faculties in ULI activities.

University Leadership Initiative

University Innovation Project

Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program



Last Updated
Sep 27, 2023
Lillian Gipson