The NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) pursues NASA's strategic objectives using a variety of space flight programs that enable the execution of both remote sensing and in situ investigations. Investigations can include the flight of space missions 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 investigations 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. Research grants and cooperative agreements support national goals for robotic and human exploration of space and ground-based investigations that contribute to SMD's science, technology and exploration goals.

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
Fiscal Year 2018 SMD receives about 5000 proposals per year and funds about 1250 grants and cooperative agreements annually.
National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
SMD solicits for basic and applied research, Technology, Citizen Science, etc. in the area(s) of Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science. SMD may establish more restrictive organization eligibility criteria. SMD funds (Treasury Account Symbol = 80 0120) will be used to fund NASA Federal Financial Assistance awards. Review funding opportunity for specific eligibility requirements.
Beneficiary Eligibility
While at the institutional level, beneficiary eligibility is the same as applicant eligibility, 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 activities. As a condition of receipt of NASA funding, the institution acknowledges and agrees that it must comply (and require any beneficiaries, e.g., subgrantees, contractors, successors, transferees, and assignees to comply) with applicable provisions of national laws and policies prohibiting discrimination.
Proposals must be signed electronically by an official authorized to commit the institution or organization in business and financial affairs and who can commit the organization to certain proposal certifications. Review NASA Proposers Guide for specific certifications and assurance Requirements and 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. All Principle Investigators and Co-Investigators are required to register in NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integration and Review System (NSPIRES) See NASA Proposer's Guide.
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 Proposers Guide. 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 proposals. 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 questions will not available via Therefore, users 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 Proposers Guide and 2) Grant and Cooperative Agreement Manual. The individual NOFO will provide any updates or deviations that may apply.
February 14, 2020 to February 13, 2021 SMD publishes deadline dates on ROSES, SMD's flagship or omnibus solicitation, typically opens every February 14th and closes the following February 13th. However, program elements within ROSES most often are open for 90 days following the element's release date. Circumstances may require that proposal be submitted in as few as 30 days after the release of a ROSES program element. Some ROSES elements accept proposals year round without a fixed deadline date. SMD also uses cooperative agreement notices (CAN) for NASA institutes. SMD releases some CANs only every 5 years and these CANs are open for 90 days at minimum.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 120 to 180 days.
From 60 to 90 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 website at
From 120 to 180 days.
How are proposals selected?
Unless otherwise specified in the funding announcement, 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 related experience of personnel demonstrated by the proposal (e.g., publications, delivered products, and other measures of productivity and/or expertise) 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, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary Science. SMD may establish more use in a particular funding announcement or notice of funding opportunity (NOFO). SMD funds (Treasury Account Symbol = 80 0120) will be used to fund NASA Federal Financial Assistance awards. Review funding opportunity for specific eligibility requirements
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: The requesting office is required to monitor recipient performance for an incremental period in a manner that permits evaluation and review of the effort performed. For example, measurement criteria may include: (1) Meeting specified milestones between beginning and ending dates, (2) Successful completion of significant activities or objectives identified, and/or (3) On-time delivery of reports and other required documentation.
Not applicable.
NASA follows the requirements from 2 CFR 200.333
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
Maximum award duration is generally five years, but three years is more typical. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: cooperative agreement, grant and, in some instances, training grants. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Letter.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Max Bernstein
Senior Lead for Research, Science Program Manager Lead for Research
300 E St., SW
Washington, DC 20546 USA
Phone: 202.358.0879

Mary Frances Sladek
Science Mission Directorate, Research Program Specialist/ Manager, 300 E St., SW
Washington, DC 20546 USA
Phone: 202-358-0861
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Cooperative Agreements (Discretionary Grants)) FY 18$518,461,297.00; FY 19 est $642,085,168.00; FY 20 est $600,000,000.00; FY 17 est $653,000,000.00; FY 16$722,802,672.00; - Funding was used to support discretionary grants and cooperative agreements.
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
General and Special Conditions (Award Terms) 2 CFR 1800 14 CFR 1274 NASA Grant & Cooperative Agreement Manual
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2019 Award selection abstracts are published on the internet for each NASA Research Announcement (NRA) or Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN). For example the NRA entitled: Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) has award abstracts available starting from January 1, 2005 at click "Solicitations" and then "Closed/Past Solicitations and Selections," search on a key word like "cosmochemistry", choose the desired program, by clicking the "Solicitation #" hypertext link and download the abstracts in a PDF file under the heading "selections". ROSES grants abstract and all other NASA grants are found by using and selecting "Search awards" and then using the "Advanced Search" for NASA awards only.


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