SMD Bridge Program

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Planning Information
Science Mission Directorate Bridge Program Call for Proposals
Anticipated ROSES-22 Amendment or ROSES-23 New Program

This page contains Planning Information for the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Bridge Program Call for Proposals, which is anticipated to appear as  a ROSES-22 Amendment or ROSES-23 New Program. The page is organized as follows:

Overview:

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) intends to release a DRAFT Call for SMD Bridge Program Proposals in November-December 2022 and a Final call no later than February 2023. The NASA SMD Bridge Program is a new initiative to improve diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) within 1) the NASA workforce and 2) the broader U.S. science and engineering communities.

The program’s primary goal is 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. These partnerships are expected to focus on paid research and engineering student positions at participating institutions with the goal of transitioning science and engineering students from undergraduate studies into graduate schools and/or employment by NASA or related institutions.

A mentoring plan describing overarching goals for the students, and roles and responsibilities of mentors at the partner institutions, is required. Mentoring models that involve collaboration between faculty and NASA scientists and engineers that engage faculty, as well as students, in current or future Science Mission Directorate (SMD)-funded research are encouraged. Proposals also may include capacity-building efforts at those partner institutions historically under-resourced in the NASA research and engineering enterprise. The student experiences may focus on science, engineering, technology development or computational methods/modeling projects in any science area of relevance to SMD.

Eligibility:

Bridge teams that focus on the goal to develop sustainable partnerships among institutions historically under-resourced by NASA may include faculty, students and NASA Center or Project mentors (scientists and/or engineers engaged in NASA research, missions, and/or instrument or technology development). The NASA Center or Project Mentor(s) may play a key, critical role in the mentorship of the students during research experiences, including creating and maintaining a positive, safe and inclusive work environment, partnering with faculty mentors, and connecting students with relevant resources at the Centers.

While research involvement of faculty at under-resourced institutions is encouraged in Bridge proposals, this is not a requirement, since expanding research opportunities to students is the primary focus of the Bridge program. The faculty member may, for example, serve as the member of the mentor cohort responsible for ensuring that the student research experience is well aligned with the academic goals of the student, and that the student makes adequate progress towards graduation.

Funding:

SMD expects to award  ~$5M per year to successful Bridge teams. Proposals can be submitted in four broad funding categories (Small, Medium, Large or Key program), with Small proposal budgets requesting <$70K per year; Medium <$150K per year; and Large < $500K per year. “Key Program” proposals must propose to build a consortium of partner institutions whose goals include increasing the research capacity across multiple participating institutions, with a higher funding level (<$2M per year). For all cost categories, funding duration can range from one to five years.

Detailed budgets will not be required at the time of proposal submission; proposers must only identify the project duration and cost category. Detailed budgets will only be requested after a proposal is deemed selectable, pending a fully justified, detailed budget. Proposal page limits for the Science Section are 5 pages for Small, 6 for Medium, 7 for Large and 15 for Key Programs. Regardless of cost category, all proposals must include a one-page preliminary budget narrative.

Funded SMD Bridge teams may support faculty and students in paid research and engineering opportunities appropriate to their career levels, from apprenticeships and  internships to graduate research to postdoctoral opportunities to PUI faculty researcher partnerships.

The SMD Bridge Program is multifaceted.  Proposals relevant to a specific SMD division, or multiple divisions are eligible. Partnerships may involve any NASA Center  or facility or a NASA Science mission. Research experiences eligible for Bridge funding may align with any element(s) described in ROSES, including Divisional research and analysis (R&A) programs, Data Science, technology (e.g., instrument) development, and missions outside of ROSES.  

While partnerships with NASA Centers are encouraged, proposals to bridge with a significant NASA-funded project led by a non-NASA organization (such as a Principal Investigator (PI)-led mission with a University) are allowable.

Notional Breakdown of Awards:

Below is a notional, initial breakdown of expected types and number awards.

Year 1 (1 to 5 year awards)

Proposal category
(cost cap per year)
Number selected
Page Limit of Science Section
 
   

Small ($70K)

~20

5

   

Medium ($150K)

~12

6

   

Large ($500K)

~3

7

   

Key ($2000K)

~1

15

   

Relevance:

Proposals must be relevant to a science objective(s) of one or more SMD Divisions, Offices, and/or missions. Bridge teams may include scientists and engineers supporting archived, operational and/or developing NASA flight missions to provide authentic student work experiences with NASA experts, facilities and resources. Bridge teams may include scientists and engineers who support instrument and technology development for future NASA missions.   

Additional Information:

A yearly symposium or similar event, to bring together current as well as potential Bridge participants  is anticipated. This event may be fully virtual, in person or hybrid depending on circumstances. The first symposium may occur shortly after selectable Bridge programs begin to receive funding. The goals of the symposium will be to connect Bridge teams to each other and offer opportunities for faculty, students and NASA Center or Project mentors to network, share experiences, foster new collaborations and communicate with each other.

Timeframe:    

The time frame estimate is:

Release of Draft Call (ROSES AMD): November 2022

Release of final Call (ROSES Appendix): No earlier than (NET) December 2022 

Pre-proposal webinar: ~3 weeks after final text release

Notice of Intent:   ~60 days after final text release

Proposals due: NET 90 days after final text release

Selection announced: 3rd Quarter Calendar Year 2023 (target)

A proposal template may be made available prior to release of the final text. Proposers should read the final text carefully when it is released.

NASA has not approved the final call for Bridge proposals, and therefore this community announcement for public comment does not obligate NASA to include all or any elements described in the final text. Any costs incurred by prospective investigators in preparing submissions in response to this announcement are incurred completely at the submitter's own risk.

This is the NSPIRES web page where the DRAFT (and later final) ROSES F.20 Bridge Program element text will appear, as well as any FAQs or other information needed to submit a proposal to this opportunity.

Questions and Updates:

Questions may be addressed via email only to Dr. Patricia “Padi” Boyd, Bridge Program Director, Science Mission Directorate, NASA, Washington, DC  20546; Email: padi.boyd@nasa.gov.  Emails may be acknowledged individually, and when appropriate responses will be posted a Questions and Answers (Q&A) on this site. Anonymity of persons or institutions submitting questions will be preserved.

Updates to this information will be posted on this site.


Questions about the SMD Bridge Program should be directed to Padi Boyd (padi.boyd@nasa.gov) and please cc SARA@nasa.gov.