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NASA Offers Space Tech Grants to Early Career University Faculty

Artist rendition of Fission Fragment Rocket Engine in space.
Concept for Fission Fragment Rocket Engine (FFRE) Propelled Spacecraft. Credits: NASA/MSFC

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking proposals from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of outstanding early-career faculty members who are beginning independent research careers. The grants will sponsor research in specific high-priority areas of interest to America’s space program.

Aligned with NASA’s Space Technology Roadmaps and priorities identified by the National Research Council, the agency has identified topic areas that lend themselves to the early stage innovative approaches U.S. universities can offer for solving tough space technology challenges.

“These grants will allow us to support university faculty in conducting research and technology development to solve some of the challenges that we face on our journey to Mars,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “Engaging the creative and innovative researchers at universities across the country provides opportunities to develop space technologies that drive robotic and human exploration of the solar system and beyond.”

NASA expects to award approximately six to eight grants this fall. Grants will be funded up to $200,000 each per year, for as many as three years, based on the merit of proposals and availability of funds. Funded research will investigate unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies focused on the verification and validation of autonomous systems, cryogenic actuator technology development, effective human–robot interaction for space exploration, and advanced in-space propulsion technologies. 

Notices of intent to submit proposals to the Early Career Faculty Appendix of NASA’s Research Announcement “Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion 2016 (SpaceTech-REDDI-2016)” are due March 4. The deadline for submitting final proposals is April 1.

For information on the solicitation, including specific technology areas of interest and how to submit notices of intent and proposals, visit:

This solicitation is issued by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is responsible for innovating, developing, testing, and flying technologies for use in future missions.

For more information about the directorate and Space Technology Research Grants Program, visit: