Hands-On NASA-oriented Experiences for Student groups

Details at a glance

Award Amount: $5,000 maximum
Funding Periods and Application Windows:

  • For funding May 10, 2021 – April 30, 2022 (awarded on a competitive basis) and funding on a rolling basis
    • Apply online:  Applications must be submitted online via Submittable.
    • Application Deadline:  November 11, 2020
    • Award notification:  Early March 2021
  • Applicants received outside of the application cycle will be considered on a rolling basis

Program Description

MSGC supports student groups from MSGC-affiliated colleges and universities that engage in hands-on, authentic, science and engineering problem-solving research and development related to NASA Mission Directorate challenges and NASA STEAM engagement priorities. Student group activities should align closely with the description in this pdf of competitive programs.

Student groups shall approach the MSGC Campus Representative initially to obtain a recommendation of whether or not to submit an application.  Then they should work with their faculty advisor in preparing their project description and budget and in determining the mechanism for oversight of funds.   For all institutions except the UM, approval from the MSGC Campus Representative and the Office of Research at the group’s institution must be obtained before an application can be submitted. Student groups at the UM work with the MSGC Program Manager to obtain those types of approvals.

Eligibility:  An applicant may be a student representing a student group, a faculty/staff mentor for a student team, or a faculty advisor whose research group creates products that are launched into space.  MSGC encourages proposals involving women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities.  The applicant shall be responsible for the reporting requirements.
Student groups must:

  • Be based out of one of MSGC’s affiliated college or universities
  • Be either (i) a recognized student organization or (ii) a professor’s research group that is producing technology that will be launched into space
  • Have a faculty or staff mentor
  • Have an approved space for working on the project
  • Agree to provide the student data necessary for MSGC’s NASA reporting and program evaluation

If an award is promised to a student group but the applicant later disengages, funding may be withdrawn. Groups must seek MSGC approval for any changes after the award is provided – changes in budget or key personnel, for instance.  All groups must have an individual who has accepted responsibility for meeting MSGC reporting requirements.

Merit:  In evaluating applications, the primary merit factors are (i) the degree to which the proposed project matches the description in the pdf noted in Program Description, with preference given to projects linked directly to NASA itself, and (ii) the overall quality/clarity of the proposal.  Secondary merit criteria are related to faculty mentoring, budget, team diversity, interdisciplinarity, and the likelihood of a positive outcome for student participants.

Use of funds:  Funding can be used for Supplies & Services and Domestic Travel.  Funding cannot be used toward purchases of equipment or foreign travel.  According to 2 CFR 200.33, the definition of equipment is “tangible personal property (including information technology systems) having a useful life of more than one year and a per-unit acquisition cost which equals or exceeds the lesser of the capitalization level established by the non-Federal entity for financial statement purposes, or $5,000.”

Cost Sharing: MSGC funds must be cost shared at least one-to-one with funds from non-federal sources.  The source of matching funds must be identified.  Cost-sharing from university units such as departments, Dean’s, Student Affairs, or Research Offices, must be confirmed by a letter from the appropriate authority. The ratio of cost shared to sponsored funding is not a factor in award decisions.  Information about allowable cost-sharing can be found in 2 CFR §200.306 and 2 CFR 1800.306. 

Indirect costs (IDC):

  • MSGC-affiliates – IDC is allowed, but consideration should be given to the fact that IDC will lower the funding available for the activity and decrease the unrecovered funds that can be applied for cost sharing.
  • UM – Submit the proposal without IDC.

Application Requirements

Approval from the Office of Research (if not UM) and the MSGC Campus Representative on the applicant’s campus is required prior to submission of an application to MSGC.  
For both the rolling and the competitive funding applications, the items in the numbered list below shall be provided as a single pdf.  Use 12-pt font and 1″ margins.  Tables and references may utilize a smaller font.  

  1. Project description (prefaced by an abstract of 150 words or less).   This section shall also include desired outcomes, a summary of how the funds (both MSGC and cost share) will be used to support the program, and an approximate timeline, 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.  Limit:  4 pages.
  2. An abstract (not to exceed 150 words)
  3. Detailed budget.   The budget shall be developed in conjunction with the faculty mentor using the budget and justification template. The proposed budget shall directly support the program description, demonstrate the effective use of funds (both NASA and cost-shared), and be adequate, appropriate, reasonable, and realistic.
  4. Budget narrative and details that substantiate costs. Domestic travel shall include the purpose, the number of trips and expected location, duration of each trip, airfare, and per diem.  Costs in Supplies & Services shall also be explained in reasonable detail and substantiated whenever possible.  If there are certified negotiated indirect costs for the institution, they shall be explained sufficiently.  The same shall be done for cost-shared funds.  No page limit.
  5. Letter from the designated signer from the institution’s Office of Research verifying approval of the proposal (not required for UM because it is lead institution).
  6. Letter/s from authorized individual/s regarding commitment/s of the non-federal match.
  7. If applying for continuation funds, include a progress report on your current project. The progress report should address how funding was used, the activities during the current year, and a general evaluation of the program. Add an appendix with information/copies of any presentations, announcements, news articles and press releases relating to the existing project. Limit:  2 pages (not including appendix).

Reporting Requirements for Award Recipients

A final report is required by May 31 of the year the funding ends.  The report will give a complete description of the activities of the group. Content in this report may be utilized in the MSGC Newsletter, Frontiers.  Report submission is accomplished by uploading the materials into a secure folder. The MSGC Program Manager will work with the applicant to see (college) student data uploaded into a secure folder as well. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) may not be emailed.  The following pdfs may be downloaded for complete reporting information:

One student from the group will also be expected to make a presentation about their group’s project – either a poster or a talk – at the next MSGC Fall Conference after their work is completed.