SMD Community Town Hall Meetings
2021 Astrophysics Theory Program Information Session, May 24, 2021 12:00 pm ET
On May 24, 2021 at 12:00 pm Eastern Time, please join representatives from the Astrophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate for an informational session regarding the 2021 Astrophysics Theory Program (ATP) Competition.
The session will address four significant changes that have been made to ATP since the previous competition:
- the consolidation of exoplanet science investigations into the Exoplanet Research Program (XRP) and out of ATP;
- the use of dual-anonymous peer review in the preparation and peer review of ATP proposals;
- the requirement for a data management plan or an explanation of why one is not necessary withing the 15-page Scientific/Technical/Management (S/T/M) section of the proposal; and
- the requirement that anonymized proposals must include an inclusion plan of up to two pages addressing plans for creating and sustaining a positive and inclusive working environment for those carrying out the proposed investigation, and contributions the proposed investigation will make to the training and development of a diverse and inclusive scientific workforce.
The session will open with a description of ATP, highlighting each of these changes and then transition to address community questions about these changes and the 2021 ATP competition in general.
In advance of the Information Session, questions may be submitted and upvoted on at:
The Session will be broadcast live via WebEx.
Join from the meeting link
Or by meeting number:
Meeting number (access code): 199 036 0472
Meeting password: zPhR4Uaq*34
For more information on the 2021 Astrophysics Theory Competition, please visit
For more information on dual-anonymous peer review, please visit: https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/dual-anonymous-peer-review
Questions regarding the Astrophysics Theory Program may be directed to Evan Scannapieco at email@example.com.
April 28th, 2021
Dual-Anonymous Peer Review Town Hall for Planetary Science Programs
On April 28, 2021 at 3 PM Eastern, NASA's Planetary Science Division (PSD) hosted a webinar to discuss the implementation of Dual-Anonymous Peer Review for the following programs under ROSES-2021: Cassini Data Analysis Program, Discovery Data Analysis Program, Exoplanet Research Program, New Frontiers Data Analysis Program, Lunar Data Analysis Program, and the Mars Data Analysis Program.
In Dual-Anonymous Peer Review, not only are proposers unaware of the identity of reviewers, but the reviewers do not have explicit knowledge of the proposing teams and institutions during the scientific evaluation of the proposal. The webinar: (1) discussed the motivation for switching to dual-anonymous peer review, (2) described important changes to proposal writing to be compliant with dual-anonymous peer review, and (3) explained how dual-anonymous peer reviews will work.
For more information on dual-anonymous peer review, please visit: https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/dual-anonymous-peer-review.
April 20, 2021
SMD Community Town Hall Meeting
On April 20, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. eastern time Thomas H. Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and his leadership team held a community town hall meeting to discuss updates to NASA's science program and share current status of SMD activities.
January 25, 2021
SMD Community Town Hall Meeting
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate held a community town hall meeting with Associate Administrator for Science Thomas H. Zurbuchen and his leadership team at 2 p.m. eastern time on Monday, January 25, to discuss updates to NASA’s science program, budget, and share current status of NASA activities.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: This WebEx service includes a feature that allows audio and any documents and other materials exchanged or viewed during the session to be recorded. Please note that any such recordings may be subject to discovery in the event of litigation.
January 21, 2021
Planetary Science Division R&A Town Hall
The Planetary Science Division (PSD) will be holding a town hall for Research and Analysis (R&A) on Thursday, January 21st at 1 PM Eastern. During the town hall, PSD will present some updates and information on current and upcoming R&A activities. In particular, we will discuss the rollout plan for the elimination of due dates for seven R&A programs (SSO, SSW, EW, PICASSO, PDART, LARS, and Exobiology). These programs will be run under a new No Due Date (NoDD) model, which has been successfully demonstrated by multiple groups at the National Science Foundation.
Questions regarding the Planetary Town Hall may be directed to Stephen Rinehart.
December 3, 2020
Fundamental Physics Virtual Townhall
The Fundamental Physics program of NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS) Division will be conducting a virtual townhall on December 3, 2020, to discuss research foci and potential mission candidates in preparation for consideration in the upcoming BPS Decadal Survey, which will establish research priorities and help determine the future BPS (and Fundamental Physics) scope and funding for the decade starting in 2023. In order to achieve a high priority for Fundamental Physics research and ensure its future healthy growth, it is important that the fundamental physics community, researchers, theorists, technologists, as well as industrial partners, participate in a strong and meaningful way in this activity.
The townhall, supported by the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, will serve as a kickoff for the decadal survey activities and provide an opportunity for the research community to review NASA’s plans and provide inputs and feedback to our staff.
The current Fundamental Physics program centers on Cold Atom Laboratory research and collaborations with international partners on physics with atomic clocks and dusty/complex plasma research. It is also in the process of developing mission concepts for experimental investigations in tests of fundamental forces and symmetries with emphasis on quantum science and applications of quantum technologies that make use of the space environment and is also developing concepts for experiments to explore the physics of dust and plasma interactions. Specific topical areas currently expected to be discussed in the townhall are:
- Cold Atom Physics
- Quantum Entanglement
- Optical Clock-Based Experiments
- Direct Detection of Dark Energy
- Dusty Plasma Physics Experiments on the Moon
- Complex/Dusty Plasma Physics on the International Space Station
- Other Space Fundamental Physics Research
We welcome and strongly encourage interested scientists, researchers, and industrial partners to participate in the townhall and the decadal survey activities.
Fundamental Physics Program Scientist
NASA SMD Biological and Physical Sciences Division
November 17, 2020
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate held a community town hall meeting via WebEx with Associate Administrator for Science Thomas H. Zurbuchen and his leadership team at 3 p.m. eastern time Tuesday, November 17, to discuss updates to NASA's science program, share current status of NASA activities, and roll-out the 2021 NASA Science Planning Guide. Members of the science community, academia, the media, and the public were invited to participate.
September 10, 2020
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate held a community town hall meeting via WebEx with Associate Administrator for Science Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen and his leadership team at 12 p.m. EDT Thursday, September 10, 2020 to discuss updates in NASA’s science program and the current status of NASA science activities. Members of the science community, academia, the media and the public were invited to participate.
July 9, 2020
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate held a virtual community town hall with Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen and other members of the Science leadership team at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 9, to discuss updates on the agency’s science activities.
Watch the July 9, 2020 Virtual Town Hall (YouTube)
(Due to technical difficulties experienced during the Town Hall, please be aware this recording features some audio and visual issues that may impact your viewing experience.)
May 28, 2020
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate held a community town hall meeting via teleconference with Associate Administrator for Science Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen and his leadership team at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, May 28, to discuss updates in NASA’s science program and the current status of NASA science activities. Members of the science community, academia, the media and the public were invited to participate.
March 20, 2020
The leadership of SMD recognizes that the COVID-19 epidemic has placed tremendous strain on all of us and our families, disrupting our lives and putting new hurdles in the way of accomplishing our professional goals. Our first priority is the safety of everyone who works on NASA missions and funded research and SMD leadership is committed to doing all it can to support our community. I want to thank all of you for your patience and hard work as we transition to this new normal.
We know that progress on funded research may slow and in some cases even stop due to necessary telework and lack of access to facilities and labs, the closing of public schools and daycare facilities for our children, the transition of teaching activities to on-line classes, and other family obligations. SMD understands this potential outcome of the current epidemic response and will work with the research community and its institutions to mitigate any impacts and to make plans, when possible, for a way forward. This situation will undoubtedly cause some inefficiencies, but we continue to be supportive of any research that can be done remotely.
Last Friday March 20, I hosted a public town hall and wanted to reiterate some of the key messages from that discussion:
- Our priority is everyone’s safety and protecting hardware and integrity of data for operating missions
- We are working with each mission and project in detail based on where they are in the development process
- Missions in I&T will continue with the smallest teams possible
- We are anticipating impacts to solicitations and evaluations and will work with the research community to mitigate them
- We encourage all to continue to pay graduate students, post-docs, and lab staff
We will also continue to provide updates to the community.
As we work through this unprecedented situation, please keep yourselves and your families safe. The government has established a new informational website, coronavirus.gov, which has useful information, and watch for continued communications from agency leaders about NASA’s status and steps you may need to take.
Thomas H. Zurbuchen, PhD
Associate Administrator, NASA Science Mission Directorate
Government-wide guidance, NASA Agency guidance and SMD FAQs about COVID-19 and awards may be found in the SARA Library.
For in links to SMD community town hall meetings about Dual-Anonymous Peer Review and other information on that topic see https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/dual-anonymous-peer-review.