For more than 15 years, the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) at NASA Headquarters has collaborated with 1) other Mission Directorates (Aeronautics, Space Technology, etc.); 2) Headquarters’ Offices; 3) NASA Centers; 4) the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); and 5) beyond-NASA, non-federal organizations, to monitor contractors, i.e., Universities Space Research Association (USRA) or Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), who support the day-to-day operations for the NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP).
NASA periodically competes NPP support, and the most recent Request for Proposals, Source Selection Statement, etc., for solicitation number: 80HQTR20R0013 entitled “Final RFP NASA Postdoctoral Program-2 (NPP-2)” may be downloaded from SAM.gov. The NPP contract provides: 1) Materials, facilities, supplies, administrative support, programmatic support, and expertise necessary to promote and administer the NASA Postdoctoral Research Program (NPRP) and the NASA Postdoctoral Management Program (NPMP); 2) Foreign National employment expertise; 3) Online Web services creation, improvement, and design; 4) Development and maintenance of online applications; 5) In depth participant tracking and accounting; and 6) Administration of an efficient, professional, and fair selection process.
As stated in the NPP-2’s Statement of Work, one goal of the NPP is to “identify and continue the career development of promising STEM researchers in disciplines of interest to NASA, so that a pool of highly skilled professionals is available to fill the future workforce needs of NASA government, industry, academia, and related not-for-profit institutions.” As a long-running public program, NPP also supports or reflects the focus of the NASA’s Strategic Plans (NSP). Like the NPP contract, NSPs periodically are refreshed. NASA released a 2022 Strategic Plan in March 2022 that aligns agency priorities and activities, including NPP, around these four themes:
DISCOVER references NASA’s enduring purpose of scientific discovery.
EXPLORE references NASA’s push to expand the boundaries of human presence in space.
INNOVATE references NASA’s broad mandate to promote the technologies of tomorrow.
ADVANCE references the capabilities, workforce, and facilities that allow NASA to achieve our Mission.
While NASA announced the selection of a new, i.e., NPP-2 contractor, the correct effective date for the new contract with ORAU is January 30, 2022. A transition period with the prior contractor (USRA), i.e., NPP-1, has ended. USRA no longer supports current and prospective Fellows. Please visit the NPP-2 website hosted by ORAU for details about program eligibility, future application deadlines, etc.
A NPP Fellow is not an employee of any listed Mission Directorate, Center or other NASA-funder or Host Site. The NPP fellow is affiliated with, but not employed, by the NPP contractor. Affiliation with the NPP contractor enables the Fellow to serve as a research guest at a NASA site or at another site designated by a funding program, e.g. Astrobiology. The contractor provides Fellows, with stipend, health insurance, travel, and professional development opportunities.