The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) pursues NASA's strategic objectives, particularly Strategic Goal 1: Expand Human Knowledge through new Scientific Discoveries, using aircraft, balloon, and spaceflight programs to enable the execution of both remote-sensing and in-situ investigations. Investigations in Earth orbit, as well as to or even beyond objects in the Solar System, and through ground-based research activities that directly support these space missions. SMD also supports basic and applied research and technology in order to understand naturally occurring space and Earth phenomena, human-induced changes in the Earth system, and to develop Earth and space science-related technologies. In March 2022 NASA released a new Strategic Plan. Per that 2022 plan SMDs Assistance Listing aligns to this Goal Statement: NASAs enduring purpose is scientific discovery and exploration for the benefit of the United States and all of humanity. NASA seeks to discover the secrets of the universe, search for life elsewhere, and protect and improve life on Earth and in space. Finding answers to these profound science questions requires support for national priorities in science and exploration, enhancing new opportunities for cross-disciplinary science, and expanding the societal benefits of our science programs. It also requires continued progress on the scientific priorities, including those identified by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine through their decadal surveys. SMD uses NASA's Strategic Goals and Objectives and the high-level objectives that flow from them as the performance component to its research grant program notices of funding opportunity. The high-level objectives are derived from Decadal Surveys created by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) every ten years and reviewed every five years. NASEM reports summarize the state of the performance for SMDs science awards. Decadal Surveys inform the NASAs strategic and SMD science plan and allow grant programs to be kept up to date rather than be completely reliant on agency produced program goals and objectives and performance measures. SMDs research awardees individually set appropriate, NASA-relevant project level objectives, goals and measures.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants; C - Direct Payments For Specified Use; I - Use of Property, Facilities, and Equipment; M - Training
Program Accomplishments
Not applicable.
Public Law -P.L. 111-314, United States Code: National Space Program US Code 42 U.S.C §§ 2451-2484 U.S.C. Pub. L. No. 85-568
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
NASA recognizes and supports the benefits of having diverse and inclusive scientific, engineering, and technology communities and fully expects the reflection of such values in the composition of all panels and teams, including peer review panels, proposal teams, science definition teams, and mission and instrument teams. Per Federal statutes and NASA policy, no eligible applicant shall experience exclusion from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NASA on the grounds of their race, color, creed, age, sex, national origin, or disability. NASA welcomes proposals from all qualified and eligible sources, and strongly encourages proposals from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs), veteran-owned small businesses, service disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB), HUBZone small businesses, and women-owned small businesses (WOSBs), as eligibility requirements apply.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Institutions apply on behalf of individuals. All SMD financial assistance complies with 14 CFR 1250, i.e., the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that ensures that no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any SMD-funded research or research-related activities. As a condition of receipt of NASA funding, the institution acknowledges and agrees that it must comply (and require any beneficiaries, e.g., sub- award recipients, contractors, successors, transferees, and assignees to comply) with applicable provisions of national laws and policies prohibiting discrimination.
An official who is authorized to commit the proposing institution or organization in business And financial affairs and who can commit the organization to certain certifications must electronically sign proposals. Review NASA's NOFO Proposer's Guidebook for specific certifications language and assurance requirements. Download the most recent NASA Proposer's Guidebook from 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. Environmental impact information is not required for most SMD programs. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372. All proposing organizations and all named team members (including unfunded collaborators) must be registered in NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES) and confirm their participation for the proposal to be submitted via NSPIRES. See NSPIRES help pages.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. General application processes and procedures are found in the NASA Proposer's Guidebook. It is necessary to refer to the individual SMD notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for specific application procedures that may or may not include requirements for 1) a notice of intent (NOI) to apply; or 2) Two-phase (step) proposal; or 3) White Papers. SMD posts NOFO summaries on While SMD accepts proposals via, in order for SMD to review proposals in the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES) users, MUST ALSO have a valid registration in NSPIRES in order to compete for SMD funding. Any NSPIRES required program-specific-data (PSD) questions will not be available as a built-in function of Therefore, users also must include answers to the PSD questions as an appendix.
Award Procedure
SMD uses the general award processes and procedures published in the 1) NASA Proposer's Guidebook and 2) Grant and Cooperative Agreement Manual (GCAM). The individual NOFO will provide any updates or deviations from these two documents.
January 1, 2023 to April 15, 2024 SMD publishes deadline dates on and Annually, SMD traditionally publishes the summary of solicitation for its collective, flagship solicitation, ROSES, in February. Individual competitions, i.e., program elements, such as but not limited to, "Future Investigators in Earth and Space Science and Technology" -FINESST-- within ROSES most often are open for 90 days or more following the release of a due date or deadline. ROSES also may first release a program element in draft for community comment prior to opening proposal submission. Rarely, circumstances may require that proposals be submitted in as few as 30 days after the release of a specific ROSES program element. Some ROSES elements accept proposals year round without a fixed deadline date. SMD calls elements within ROSES without deadlines "No Due Date (NoDD) programs" as explained at On an occasional basis SMD also may use stand-alone cooperative agreement notices (CAN) for NASA institutes and other complex activities. SMD releases stand-alone CANs, NRAs, or other NOFOs as needed. These are typically open for 90 days. On an occasional basis SMD may use stand-alone cooperative agreement notices (CAN) for complex activities that involve the sustained participation by NASA personnel, facilities, etc. SMD releases stand-alone Cooperative Agreement Notices (CANs), NASA Research Announcements (NRA)s, or other NOFOs as needed. These are open for 60-to-90 days.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 120 to 180 days.
From 90 to 120 days. SMD has a process for requesting a debrief and/or reconsideration of the declination of a proposal submitted in response to an SMD NASA Research Announcement and Cooperative Agreement Notices. Reconsideration may be requested if the PI believes that the proposal was not handled correctly. This process may be found at in the SMD Reconsideration Policy document available in the Library section of the SARA (Acronym stands for Senior Advisors for Research and Analysis) website at or
From 120 to 180 days.
How are proposals selected?
Unless otherwise specified in the NOFO, the evaluation criteria considered in evaluating a proposal are intrinsic merit, relevance, and cost. Intrinsic Merit includes the consideration of the following factors, as applicable to the particular proposal 1) The scientific quality of the proposed project, including, but not limited to, the scientific rationale and the expected significance and/or impact of the proposed work. 2) Overall, technical quality of the proposed work, includes, but is not limited to, the quality of the management plan and project timeline for carrying out the work and the effectiveness and resilience of the proposed experimental designs, methods, techniques, and approaches for achieving the proposed goals and/or objectives. 3) The qualifications, capabilities, and expertise of personnel demonstrated by the proposal (e.g., publications, delivered products, and other measures of productivity and/or experience) that would affect the likelihood of achieving the objectives. 4) Facilities, instruments, equipment and other resources or support systems presented in the proposal that would affect the likelihood of achieving the proposed objectives. A proposal's relevance includes the consideration of the potential contribution to NASA's mission as expressed in its most recent NASA strategic plans and the permitted scope and specific objectives and goals given in the funding announcement. Cost of a proposed effort includes the reasonableness of the proposed cost, as well as whether costs are allowable and allocable to the project.
How may assistance be used?
Assistance is for basic and applied research, Technology, Citizen Science, etc. in the area(s) of Astrophysics, Biological Sciences Earth Science, Heliophysics, Physical Sciences, and Planetary Science. SMD may establish additional uses in a particular notice of funding opportunity (NOFO).
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: SMD monitors recipient performance on an interim, most often annual basis, and following completion of the final overall performance period. There may be virtual or in person group meetings held with awardees on a periodic or occasional basis. A small number of NOFOs specify that awardees will meet virtually as often as monthly during the performance period. Some technology awards are required to report quarterly through specialized information systems. SMD’s performance measurement criteria, for example, may include: (1) Evidence that the awardee is making progress on the awardee’s specified goals/objectives, (2) Successful completion of significant activities or objectives or an explanation for why the awardee’s objectives could not be accomplished or did not progress as expected, (3) Delivery of the annual progress reports, and (4) other documentation upon request.
Not applicable.
NASA follows the requirements and time period described in ? 200.334 "Retention requirements for records"
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Notwithstanding no cost extensions that may exceed the general maximum award duration of five years, funding is available as long as the appropriation has not expired. A three-year spending period is most typical. NASA SMD may require final spending occur at least 60 days prior to the appropriation’s expiration. Once obligated on the award and depending on the appropriation’s expiration, funding may be available for almost seven years. Letter
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None. SMD has no regional or local Assistance offices outside of Washington, DC.
Headquarters Office
Max Bernstein
Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters Building
300 Hidden Figures Way SW,
Washington, DC 20546 USA
Phone: 202.358.0879

Mary Frances Sladek
Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters Building
300 Hidden Figures Way SW,
Washington, DC 20546 USA
Phone: 202-358-0861
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Cooperative Agreements (Discretionary Grants)) FY 22$953,452,048.00; FY 23 est $918,500,000.00; FY 24 est $918,500,000.00; FY 21$525,892,086.00; FY 20$541,835,264.00; FY 19$580,810,643.00; FY 18$518,461,297.00; FY 17 est $653,000,000.00; FY 16$722,802,672.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Total individual award sizes will vary based on scope from a minimum of about $5,000 to multi-year awards in the tens of millions of dollars.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
NASA uses General and Special Conditions (Award Terms) 2 CFR 1800. NASA also makes Grant Information Circulars (GICs), the Grant and Cooperative Agreement Manual (GCAM), and Proposer's Guidebook available for download at NASA Grants Policy and Compliance (GPC) maintains Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at NASA uses its Shared Services Center (NSSC) to provide support for NASA research, science, engineering, and education communities in the award and administration of research, education, training, and facility type grants and cooperative agreements. SMD encourages proposers to download and read Science 2020-2024: A Vision for Scientific Excellence - FY 21-22 Update published at Researchers interested in NASA science data and planning to propose to a SMD research NOFO will find frequently asked questions and similar resources linked to the Overview page
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2022 SMD publishes selection abstracts on the internet associated with the awarding, individual Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), NASA Research Announcement (NRA) or Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN). SMD abstracts are available from the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System SMD publishes selection abstracts on the internet associated with the awarding, individual Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), NASA Research Announcement (NRA) or Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN). SMD abstracts are available from the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES) website at Abstracts are available only for NOFOs with a NSPIRES status marked “Past”. If a visitor doesn’t know the title or number for the NOFO, it may take several clicks to find an abstract on the NSPIRES website. Step one: Click "Solicitations” on the top menu on the NSPIRES website to be taken to the " Solicitations” page. Step Two: On the “Solicitations” page choose “Science Mission Directorate” on the left column and click Search. Step Three: The search results will be shown in a table with columns such as “Status” and "Solicitation Title and Solicitation #". Click the Status column until it sorts the hyperlinked titles to “Past”. Step 4: Choose a hyperlink to reach “a solicitation’s” specialized page. Step 5: On the NOFO’s dedicated NSPIRES page scroll to find/ download the abstracts in a PDF file under the heading "Selections". ==== Information from 2004 to the present about the Biology and Physical Sciences awards are located within the “Task Book” database established by the Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications Division once supported by Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEO) at The Task Book has searchable archives for biology and physical science projects from 1995-2003.


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