Undergraduate Research Grants

Details at a Glance:

      • Award Amount: $4,000
      • Submission Deadline:  November 13, 2024 (11:59pm)
      • Period of Performance:  May 1, 2025 – December 31, 2025
      • Award Announcement:  by March 1, 2025 with cost-reimbursable sub-award agreements expected to arrive at MSGC’s affiliated institutions by late Spring 2025
      • Application:   Applications considered for funding MUST be submitted by the Undergraduate Student via MSGC’s online submission portal ‘Submittable’. https://michiganspacegrantconsortium.submittable.com. Applications open September 1, 2024!

Note: You are required to consult with and secure prior approval from your institution prior to submitting to MSGC

Program Description:

Students working with art and design are encouraged to apply!

MSGC’s Undergraduate Research Grants opportunity supports research and public service projects involving undergraduate students from affiliate institutions who are conducting research and projects relevant to NASA’s strategic interests as expressed in NASA’s 2014 & 2018 Strategic Plans. Specifically, research focused on aerospace, space science, and earth system science. While students working in other related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are also eligible to apply; starting this year, MSGC is piloting an expanded definition of STEM to include support for interdisciplinary projects that include art. Students conducting research and projects relevant to NASA’s strategic interests in disciplines not traditionally considered STEM, such as the humanities or social sciences, are likewise encouraged to apply. The fellowship-supported research may occur over the summer, during the academic year, or both. 

Eligibility: Students are required to identify a mentor from the faculty research, education, or public service communities, with whom they intend to work. The student MUST be a U.S. national, currently enrolled at one of MSGC-affiliated institutions, have a good academic record and be in good academic standing, fill out the application via Submittable. The Student must also be willing to (i) have their student data reported to NASA and EPSS, the company that evaluates our programs, and (ii) engage in that evaluation process through responding to emails. Women, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Merit: The merit of the application will be judged based on primary and secondary criteria.  The primary merit criteria are scientific merit, relevance to NASA strategy, clarity of student responsibilities with regard to research activities, and strength of the letter/s of recommendation. Secondary merit criteria include the interdisciplinary of the project, the student’s level of interest in pursuing a STEAM career, overall GPA, and grades in technical courses. If the application is for continuation funding, the progress report also contributes to the merit evaluation.

MSGC had a major positive impact on my education and life. This helped me discover how much I enjoy research and aided me in getting into additional research programs and PhD programs.

2012 Undergraduate Fellowship Awardee, Grand Valley State University

Participation in MSGC has allowed me to investigate a career path of not only research, but a career path where I can combine both passions of mine (engineering and computer science). I have also learned a lot about computer programming and participating in MSGC has grown my passion for computer science!

2021 Faculty Led Fellowship for Undergraduates Awardee, Michigan Technological University

It really helped me pursue a higher degree, MSGC opened the door for me. Encouraging me to love the research life. I have chosen to complete my PhD in a very interesting program “Medical Physics,” which I believe the humanity will benefit from the research I’m working on.

2019 Undergraduate Fellowship Awardee, Oakland University

I was able to work as a student researcher in the summer of 2021. Through that opportunity I learned how to think critically, and use that experience to sell myself to veterinary programs. All of my hard work paid off, and I have been accepted to Midwestern University for veterinary school in the fall.

2021 Faculty Led Fellowship for Undergraduates Awardee, Hope College

An amazing experience that taught me technical and presentation skills; furthermore, this experience allowed me to connect with other insightful and talented individuals.

2016 Undergraduate Fellowship Awardee, Grand Valley State University

Proposal/Application Requirements:

Applications considered for funding MUST be submitted by the Undergraduate Student via MSGC’s online submission portal ‘Submittable’. https://michiganspacegrantconsortium.submittable.com. The proposal guidelines to be written by the student are as follows:

The abstract should not be more than 150 words (to be entered in the text box provided in the online application)

Proposal Narrative: (approx 2 to 3 pages)

References Cited is not included in the page limit. (Naming convention for attachment:  Last name_UG_SOW_2025, insert last name where indicated).
Upload to Submittable as a SINGLE PDF with a HEADER containing the Applicants FIRST & LAST name PROPOSAL TITLE, PROPOSAL TYPE & SCHOOL/ORGANIZATION name.  (Please DO NOT include Budget information with your Proposal Narrative document)

The proposal narrative should include sufficient information needed for evaluation of the project and should be specific and informative and avoid redundancies. Components of the proposal narrative, or research plan should include:

  • Proposed research or public service activity
  • Specific Aims
  • Research Design and Methodology
  • How the proposed activity is related to NASA’s strategic interests
  • Student’s specific responsibilities in the project and specific outcomes expected for the research.

Impact Statement, Project Time-line, and Future Plan (included with the Proposal Narrative)

  • An Impact Statement describing the goal of the specific research proposed as well as the broad, long-term objectives.
  • Timeline for the effort, including information as to when most effort is expected – summer, academic year, or both. Explain the difference in the effort during summer versus academic year.
  • The student’s future career/educational interest

Note:  Because the reviewers come from a range of scientific fields, the writer (student) should carefully consider the terminology used in the essay. 
References Cited – (to be included as the final page of your Proposal Narrative. References Cited is not included in the page limit.)

(Naming convention for attachment:  Last name_UG_Budget_2025, insert last name where indicated).
Can be for any amount up to the maximum noted in the RFP. MUST be submitted on the MSGC Budget Template provided.  (*Note: The MSGC Budget Template is available for Download ONLY.  To download, follow the link to the Form, selected ‘file’ and then ‘download’) Upload to Submittable as a SINGLE PDF with a HEADER containing the Applicants FIRST & LAST name PROPOSAL TITLE, PROPOSAL TYPE & SCHOOL/ORGANIZATION name.

Augmented Support: If the application includes support for an under-represented minority student, an additional $500 may be requested as part of this application.
Allowable Budget items include research salary, fringe benefits, stipends, tuition, travel, research supplies and other federally allowable direct costs not subject to Uniform Guidance that comply with 2 CFR Subpart E – Cost Principals

  • 2 CFR 200.413 defines Direct Costs as those costs that can be identified specifically with a particular final cost objective, meaning federal award, program or project that specifically benefit the award.

Unallowable items include, but are not limited to: cost overruns, retroactive funding, renovations, and any expenditures subject to Uniform Guidance; including, furniture, hosting, office supplies or “equipment”, including computers.  Computer programs may be considered if specialized and directly related to the proposed project. Applicants are encouraged to contact the MSGC staff with specific questions about allowability of specific types of expenses. Note: The Federal Government defines ‘equipment’ as tangible personal property with a useful life of more than one year and a purchase price of $5,000 and above.

Indirect Costs Recovery It is the policy of the Space Grant Program that MSGC cannot charge management fees nor indirect costs on NASA internships and fellowships under our Educational Cooperative Agreement with NASA. Therefore, fellowship and internship proposals submitted to MSGC for funding may not include management fees nor indirect costs either.

Cost-Share: The MSGC Fellowship Program does not require cost match
Waived and Imputed indirect costs may be applied towards cost-share for projects requiring 1:1 match. WAIVED IDC = amount of IDC waived on the Sponsor/MSGC side of the budget. Whereas, IMPUTED IDC = amount waived on the Cost-Share side of the Budget. Other sources of eligible direct cost-share include waived costs for tuition and faculty mentorship time. For additional guidance regarding cost-share see 2 CFR §200.306. Note: Organizations without a federally negotiated IDC rate are eligible to use a 10% Flat Rate/De Minimis Rate

Effects on financial aid: Fellowships have the potential to impact existing financial aid.  If a student has a financial aid package, it would be beneficial to inquire at the Financial Aid Office at their institution before applying.

Budget Justification:
Please include your Budget Justification in the space provided marked Budget Justification’ on the MSGC Budget Template. To include, an Itemized explanation for each expense of the budget; as well as a list of the names of all personnel who are involved on the project, regardless of whether salary support is requested. Provide a clear explanation for ALL personnel by position, the role that they will be playing on the project, and level of effort. For domestic travel include the purpose, the number of trips and expected location, duration of each trip, airfare, and per diem.  Other costs must also be explained in reasonable detail as well; including negotiated indirect costs. The same shall be done for cost-shared funds.

Appendix Include:

Student Transcripts: (Required)
(Naming convention for attachment:  Last name_UG_Transcript_2025, insert last name where indicated).
If less than two semesters of undergraduate courses have been completed, please upload a high school transcript as well as a college transcript.

Progress Statement:
(Naming convention for attachment:  Last name_UG_PR_2025, insert last name where indicated).
If applying for another fellowship during a current fellowship, please provide a two-page progress report on the current project, including how funds have been used describing MSGC-supported activities during the current year explaining successful and unsuccessful components of the project; including any papers, presentations, announcements, news articles, and press releases relating to the existing project.

Portfolio & Examples of Work Requirements:
(Naming convention for attachment:  Last name_UG_EOW_2025, insert last name where indicated).
Required by all applicants submitting proposals that includes an interdisciplinary element that includes ART. Your portfolio should demonstrate your interest, experience and approach to design. You will be required to provide a link to your portfolio. Note: Social media accounts will not be accepted as Art Portfolios.
The Examples of Work is your opportunity to highlight your specific skills, medium and interest to the project in which you are applying. You will be required to upload three Examples of Work in the medium in which you are applying. Acceptable uploads include: Images, Video and PDFs. Each Example of Work must be uploaded separately, where indicated.

Letter(s) of Support: (Required)
(Naming convention for attachment:  Last name_UG_LOS_2025, insert last name where indicated).
Collaborators other than the applicant, with a significant role on a project should provide a Letter of Support for their participation. Faculty Mentors associated with Faculty led Undergraduate Fellowship proposals are required to provide a letter of support. Letter(s) of support may be uploaded as a PDF attachments, where indicated on the online application.

Biographical Sketch(es): (Required)
(Naming convention for attachment:  Last name_BIO_2025, insert last name where indicated).
Is required for each faculty Principal and Co-Investigator on the project (applies to proposals submitted for Faculty Led Fellowship awards, Research Seeds awards, HONES awards & Educational Program awards). To include professional experiences and positions, and bibliography of recent publications. May be uploaded as single or as multiple PDF attachments where indicated on your online application.

Institutional Sign-off/Letter of Support: (Required)
(Naming convention for attachment:  Last name_UG_ILOS_2025, insert last name where indicated).
Institutional approval by the Department Chair, Division Head or Grant Administrator indicating the application budget is endorsed and the cost-sharing requirement has been agreed to. Required for all proposals submitted by faculty or students from the University of Michigan or any of one of MSGC’s 10 affiliate institutions. MUST be satisfied prior to submission. Verify your institution’s process for prior approval with the affiliate representative from your institution. For a list of MSGC affiliate representatives visit the MSGC website at  https://www.mispacegrant.org/about/

Post Award Expectations:

Notice of Award:
If a proposal is approved for funding, the applicant (student) will be notified by e-mail once the Board has had an opportunity to consider all applications from the round. An award letter will be sent containing a start date, which is anticipated to be May 1, 2025. The duration of an award is 8 months, by which time all funds must be spent.

It will be the responsibility of the awardee and his/her respective department/institution to monitor funding activity and expenditures. Awarded funds are limited specifically to the expenses itemized and approved as part of the original application and may not (without MSGC approval) be utilized for any other expenditure not previously identified. Any residual funds at the close of the study will be returned to the Michigan Space Grant Consortium. 

Regulatory Requirements:
Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and any other applicable regulatory requirements are not required at the time of submission but should be initiated immediately following award notification. All regulatory approvals MUST BE OBTAINED WITHIN 3 MONTHS of the award start date (e.g. IRB, UCUCA, FDA, Technology Transfer, Conflict of Interest, etc.).

Mid-Year Progress Update: – Due August 15, 2025
Required from all awardees. Will be emailed directly to you at the beginning of the year in the form of a short survey to be completed upon receipt.  Used to collect a summary of the progress made to date: including, resulting peer reviewed publications, applications for extramural funding and, if applicable, an explanation for any project delays. This is the approved time for requesting an extension. Well-justified no cost time extensions for up to six months may be considered if submitted with this progress report. However, if no progress has been made toward completion of the project after the one year period, the Michigan Space Grant Consortium reserves the right to request that unexpended MSGC funds be returned.

Final Report: – Due January 15, 2026 or within 2 weeks of project completion
As projects are completed, the Michigan Space Grant Consortium requires all awardees submit Final Reporting documents; including 

  1. Final Narrative
  2. OEPM Form (if applicable)
  3. Student Data (if applicable)

Reporting requirements unique to each award type and reminders for completion will be sent until all of the required information has been collected.

Publication & Citation Requirements:
Researchers submitting NASA-funded articles in peer-reviewed journals or papers from conferences are required to make their work accessible to the public through NASA’s, PubSpace at https://sti.nasa.gov/submit-to-pubspace/#.YD5lRJNKhTY. Research papers will be available within one year of publication to download and read.
As a requirement for accepting a MSGC award and to continue to help us continue our mission to foster awareness of, education in, and research on space-related science and technology in Michigan please cite our federal award number 80NSSC20M0124 in publications and presentations resulting from our support.
Acknowledgement Statement –  Research reported in this publication was supported in part by funding provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), under award number 80NSSC20M0124, Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC).

MSGC Annual Fall Conference:
All funded applicants will be invited to present the findings of their work at a poster session as part of an upcoming annual Fall symposium hosted by the Michigan Space Grant Consortium each Fall.  The 2024 Fall Conference will be held Saturday, October 19, 2024 in Ann Arbor. More details to follow as more information becomes available.