Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility at SMD

SMD aims to create an environment where each team member is valued for their diversity of thought, unique background and whole selves. And larger still, our desire is that all science funded by NASA, regardless of where it is performed, is comprised of teams that reflects the Nation and share our values.

As indicated in the NASA Science Plan and reflecting NASA’s Core Value of Inclusion, the Science Mission Directorate is committed to actualizing an environment where Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) principles are ways of working and being.

We recognize that there are barriers and obstacles that historically marginalized groups face societally and in the workplace. We are committed to relieving these inequities with boldness and forward-learning practices – for systemic and lasting change, and recognize the constant need to continue to iterate and evolve. We are eager to share progress and create opportunities for dialogue with the community on progress and continued challenges to furthering IDEA throughout our work.

This page is a work in progress and will continue to be updated to share SMD’s efforts towards IDEA.

SMD’s IDEA Strategy & Internal Structures

SMD developed and launched its own IDEA-focused strategy in February 2022. While distinguishable from the broader agency’s NASA’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA) plan, the IDEA strategy is congruent with the larger plan’s goals. The IDEA strategy is action-oriented and agile. Developed with the awareness that full IDEA maturation occurs in a 3–5-year timeframe, this 2022 –2023 strategy selects priority areas based on SMD’s existing efforts and progress. The plan addresses both internal areas of focus within SMD’s workforce and work environment as well as priority areas in our work with the science community.

graphic of five interconnected puzzle pieces depict the SMD IDEA strategic priorities, one: diverse leadership and career growth, two: internal structures for IDEA, three: inclusive culture and accessibility, four: diverse and inclusive science teams, five: community engagement and inclusion

SMD Cross-Cutting Working Group and Internal Divisions

SMD’s cross-cutting IDEA Working Group is comprised of internal staff from all of our science divisions and serves as our central body for regularly communicating IDEA-related challenges, actions and solutions. The Working Group implements and coordinates initiatives in support and within alignment of SMD’s strategies and NASA goals; ensuring measurable outcomes and progress towards metrics of success from each of the IDEA strategic priority-aligned subgroups.

For questions about SMD’s IDEA initiatives or internal working group, please reach out to

SMD’s science divisions are implementing numerous IDEA-related efforts that focus on the priority needs within the science disciplines, including both internal and external areas.

SMD IDEA Activities to date:

  • Launch of SMD Bridge Program to develop sustainable partnerships among institutions historically under-resourced by NASA, e.g., Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)), Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), Primarily Black Institutions (PBIs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Community Colleges; and very highly research-intensive universities and NASA Centers or Facilities.
  • Inclusion plan pilot and expansion: some NASA Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) programs are piloting the addition of a required Inclusion Plan to promote inclusion in NASA-supported science.
  • PI Launchpad to support first-time proposers, the annual PI Launchpad workshop provides resources and insight into the proposal process.
  • Adoption of dual-anonymous peer review for ROSES proposals to ensure that the review of proposals is performed in an equitable and fair manner.
  • Development of a template code of conduct for mission teams: still in development, this resource will be made available to support missions teams in operating with effective codes of conduct.
  • Sponsoring and incentivizing enhanced and innovative outreach activities with IDEA as a major focus
  • Listening sessions with early career students and faculty to identify barriers for underrepresented groups
  • Collection, evaluation, and publication of demographics of ROSES proposers and awardees
  • Baseline culture climate survey: an internal survey administered by SMD to analyze the work environment and feelings of inclusion among the SMD workforce.
  • Development of a NASA Headquarters SMD job shadowing and mentorship pilot program to encourage career growth.
  • Anonymous feedback box for SMD staff to provide input, proving greater psychological safety
  • Monthly IDEA conversations on foundational concepts and annual inclusion training

More opportunities to engage with NASA Science and Resources to support IDEA in the scientific community coming soon.

Keep Exploring

Discover More Topics From NASA