This is the October letter from SARA, a short update for NASA SMD's scientists.
In the middle of this past month I went up Ithaca, NY to the DPS meeting to speak (with Jim Green) at NASA night and hear some science. I will probably be attending very few meetings this year since, as you may have heard, NASA has been severely restricted in how much it can spend on conferences in FY 2009. This is not an SMD policy, this is the law. It reduces the amount we can spend in 2009 to less than one third of what it was in 2008. The NASA memo giving the details of how this will be implemented is still in draft form, but I have gotten so many questions that I want to use this opportunity to make my best attempt to predict what will happen to conference travel expenses in fiscal 2009.
This is not just a limit on conference travel for civil servants: it will include travel by NASA badged contractors (not including JPL and APL?) transport and set-up costs of booths and tables, and perhaps most importantly, all financial sponsorship that NASA has provided to conference organizers to support conference events & meetings, like those we have funded through ROSES. Any proposals for meeting support that were submitted via ROSES 2008 will probably not be funded. In addition, we probably will not call for such proposals in ROSES 2009. The good news is that that folks who have grants (i.e., those at universities) and post-doctoral fellows and other student fellowships will almost certainly be exempt. But everyone else will be affected in some way or another. Stay tuned for the official memo from NASA and the SMD implementation.
Lets end on a happier note. If you have not already seen it, I would like to draw your attention to the latest ROSES amendment which calls for new proposals for Education and Public Outreach supplemental awards. This will now be done through two separate program elements (E.8 & E.9 in ROSES 2008) with fixed due dates twice a year rather than by the old rolling process with the due date determined by when your selection was made. The upcoming due date for both education and outreach supplemental proposals is Dec. 15th. The next such call will be part of ROSES 2009 with a due date in the spring.
Max (a.k.a. SARA)
P.S. These letters from SARA now have an RSS feed: http://nasascience.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/letters-from-sara/RSS