We are happy to announce that the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Bridge Program Community Workshop Report is now publicly available on our website at the following link: https://smd-cms.nasa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/reportfromthebridgeprogramworkshoporganizingcommittee.pdf. The SMD Bridge Program team is committed to co-creating this program with you, the community. Back in October of 2022, a fantastic group of community leaders organized and led a 5-day virtual workshop to find out what the community needs and wants from a bridge program with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Thanks to the hard work from the authors and editors of this report, we can now showcase all of the discussions and key takeaways from last year’s workshop.
This report is full of information for us here on the Bridge Program Team, and valuable information for you, the proposers and participants. The appendices are a great place to go for resources on mentoring and evidence-based program design. To quote the report:
“This informational report is the product of multiple meetings of a diverse set of working groups, many representing communities that have traditionally not engaged with NASA. These groups came together during the week-long NASA SMD Bridge Program Workshop, held in October 2022, and provided multiple opportunities for community input with the purpose of co-creating NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Bridge Program, a new initiative aimed at increasing participation in NASA SMD activities. This report is informed by those discussions and intended to guide NASA in shaping a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) that broadens the participation of students, faculty, and institutions in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) experiences available within NASA. The purpose of this report is not to address the many issues faced by under resourced communities but to lay a foundation for NASA to develop a program in which underserved students, faculty, and institutions can receive funding, work with NASA, and use their local expertise to address these issues.”
The SMD Bridge Program team is already acting on some of the main workshop themes, for example, by offering the Bridge Program Seed Funding (BPSF) Opportunity, which is Appendix F.23 in ROSES-2023. This “no fixed due date” program will accept proposals up through March 29, 2024. We hope that the availability of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Bridge Program Community Workshop Report will encourage many new proposals to the Bridge Program, either for seed funding, or for additional opportunities in ROSES-2024. We would also like to highlight a white paper from the early career perspectives group. A big thank you to all of the participants from the workshop, and all of the authors who made this report happen.
The summer months have been a busy time for the SMD Bridge Program. Our no due date Seed Funding call is currently open. In response to community feedback, our team scheduled real-time virtual office hours in the last week of June. We really appreciated the opportunity to engage with so many potential seed funding Principal Investigators (PIs) and their team members, and we hope that our conversations were helpful in moving your proposals along. We certainly learned a lot from you about ways in which we can further clarify the language in our instructions, call for proposals, and answers to frequently asked questions. We are taking your feedback to make these improvements in our communications going forward. We were encouraged to meet and talk with so many PIs who are enthusiastic about the seed funding program, and we also heard your message that helping new PI’s find a new NASA partner is an area where we need to focus more of our resources. We are hard at work preparing some responses to this challenge, and look forward to having more news and resources to share on this topic in the future.
Meanwhile, we received a good response to our first notional seed funding proposal deadline, and we are now well underway preparing to review these proposals. The submitted proposals came from a wide variety of under-resourced institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institution (HSIs), and Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) from across the US. A good fraction of the proposals are led by first-time NASA PIs. There is also an impressive variety of NASA center participation, with partners in science and engineering working across SMD science divisions and NASA Centers. We expect to complete this review in the next months, and begin reaching out to selected seed funding teams this Fall.
We want to take this opportunity to thank those researchers who participated on the inaugural round of seed funding proposals, and the experts who have offered their talents and perspectives to serve on our review panel.
There are still many opportunities to participate in the Bridge program coming soon. We plan to do at least two more reviews of seed funding proposals received before the end of March 2023, and will communicate details of the opportunities through a wide variety of means. That means there’s still plenty of time to prepare a seed funding proposal, serve as a proposal reviewer on an upcoming panel, and/or engage with us to learn more about our program plans and give us your feedback.
Thanks to everyone who attended and participated in our joint webinar with the NASA Research Initiation Awards (RIA) on May 24, 2023. We had an awesome time giving overviews of RIA and the SMD Bridge Program Seed Funding proposal opportunity. The webinar had over 200 attendees, mostly faculty from R2 and Primarily Undergraduate Institutions looking to learn how to apply. For those who missed it, you can find the recording on the ScienceAtNASA YouTube channel, and we have posted a link to the slides on our F.23 Seed Funding NSPIRES page under our other documents.
You had so many questions, and we have heard you! We added Frequently Asked Questions (an FAQ) to our NSPIRES page to answer some of your most popular questions. To help clarify some of the questions we received, we even added a clarified version of the call with new information in bold to help clear up some of our wording, especially related to eligibility.
We’re so excited to see so many of you interested in our program, we really hope having the recording, slides and new materials we’ve added in response will help. We look forward to seeing those proposal roll in!
If you’re not ready to propose, but would like to contribute to the Bridge Program in another important way, please consider volunteering to be a proposal reviewer. Serving as a reviewer is a great way to offer your expertise to shape the program, get first-hand experience with our review process, and network with colleagues. New researchers including postdoctoral fellows and sometimes upper level graduate students are welcome. Just follow the links on NASA’s “Volunteer to be a Reviewer” page for F.23.
We welcome and look forward to your active engagement, either as part of a proposing team, or as a volunteer to serve on a panel!
Your first opportunity to meet our team and learn more about the NASA SMD Bridge Program is happening this week!
Are you interested in learning more about the NASA SMD Bridge Program? Do you want to know how to apply for Bridge Seed Funding? Please join us and the Research Initiation Awards team on a joint webinar Wednesday May 24, 2023, from 1:00-2:30PM ET.
This informational joint webinar about the Research Initiation Awards Program (F.22) and the Bridge Program Seed Funding (F.23) will occur on Wednesday, May 24 at 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The webinar will provide an overview of both programs, describe the proposal process and requirements, and allow for webinar attendees to submit questions.
We hope to see you there and answer all your questions about our program.
We are excited to share the news that the first SMD Bridge Program funding opportunity is now open!
Our October community workshop was a vibrant opportunity to co-create the Bridge Program, and main themes from the workshop have provided a foundation for establishing funding opportunities in the Bridge Program. Workshop content, including agenda, recordings and presentations may be reviewed at: https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/smdfall2022/agenda/.
A common theme from the workshop was the need for NASA to facilitate new potential Bridge partnerships where no NASA collaboration currently exists, through seed funding. Another key theme from the workshop was the importance of strong positive mentorship in developing students into STEM professionals, as well as the impacts of poor mentorship on retention of STEM students.
In response to this theme, NASA has released the SMD Bridge Seed Funding call for proposals as F.23 in ROSES-2023. In addition to this seed funding opportunity, we expect to release a call for full Bridge Partnership proposals later this year.
SMD Bridge Program Seed Funding awards are expected to have a budget up to ~$300,000 for a duration of 24 months. These awards are not intended to be a form of long-term support, but to facilitate the development or continuation of partnerships that will lead to future proposals to NASA, such as a full Bridge Partnership proposal, (see https://science.nasa.gov/smd-bridge-program) in the next one to three years. The expected total program budget for new awards ~$2-4M/Year, to be awarded to up to 30 teams, pending adequate proposals of merit.
Bridge Program Seed Funding proposals may be submitted at any time but will be reviewed as follows:
Thereafter, submit via ROSES-2024, expected to be released February 14, 2024.
We’re hoping this call with generate a lot of enthusiasm and interest, as well as some questions. We are eager to engage with you, the community of potential SMD Bridge partners and participants.
To join in on the Webinar, please register at https://nasa-gov.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_0TCHDV4KR02SiiGxCaoAsA so you will receive a Zoom calendar invitation that will get updated with Connect information.
SMD hosted a one-week Bridge Program workshop in October 2022 to co-create the program with potential partners from a variety of institutions and perspectives. The agenda, presentations and recordings of this workshop are publicly available at https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/smdfall2022/agenda/. The workshop attracted over 400 registrants, with hundreds of active participants each day.
A written report documenting the workshop has been drafted and will soon be made public. The written report identified two overarching themes from the workshop. The ideal SMD Bridge Program would:
- Center the needs of students, faculty, and research capacity at institutions that have been historically and systematically marginalized.
- Lead a paradigm shift wherein NASA SMD takes responsibility for fostering impactful relationships and partnerships that further NASA SMD’s science and equity objectives.
In response to these overarching themes, the Bridge Program team plans to implement the following course of actions.
- Issue ROSES Call for Bridge Program Seed Funding Proposals
- Issue ROSES Call for Bridge Partnership Pilot Proposals
- Require a component focusing on Student Mentoring in Proposals
- Finalize SMD Bridge Program Communications Plan
- Organize Networking Event(s) to Foster New Partnerships
- Both in-person and virtual/hybrid options are being considered
- Organize Symposia to Bring Bridge Teams Together
- Leverage Internal and External Partnering
- Internal Examples: NASA Office of STEM Engagement, Science Activation program, SMD’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility (IDEA) Team
- External Examples: NSF, AIP, APS, AAS, AGU, NSBE, NSBP, SACNAS, AISES
- Consider Augmentations to Existing Efforts
We are developing an FAQ for the Bridge Program based on questions we have received, and will post those answers to this page in a future update.
How to stay informed: When ROSES calls for proposals are released through NSPIRES, an announcement will be emailed to the NASA Science Mission Directorate mailing list. To be added to this list, do the following. Create an NSPIRES account at https://nspires.nasaprs.com. Then subscribe, through NSPIRES, to the NASA Science Mission Directorate mailing list. From your NSPIRES account, click on Account Management, then click the Email Subscriptions link.