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MUREP Partnership Learning Annual Notification 2024

MPLAN Awards provide resources to MSIs to further develop ideas, facilitate research and development, and engage stakeholders.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Phase 2 Kickoff
prize:
Multiple planned awards of up to $50,000

This challenge is closed

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About
2024 Awardees
Mission Directorate Topics
Updates13
Eligibility and Rules
Timeline
Resources
FAQ
Forum3
Teams250
About

Overview

NASA invites Principal Investigators (PIs) from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to apply for an exciting program with awards up to $50,000 per PI to engage in research and work with NASA to prepare for larger funding opportunities.

This program consists of 2 phases:

  • Phase 1: MSIs submit proposals based on various topics provided by NASA MUREP and the Mission Directorates.
  • Phase 2: Awarded MSIs are invited to meet with NASA researchers and MUREP representatives. The meetings will focus on fostering collaboration, enhancing technical skills, and providing insights into future NASA opportunities.

The NASA MUREP Partnership Learning Annual Notification (NASA MPLAN) will offer PIs the opportunity to:

  • Engage in a research project directly with NASA
  • Participate in monthly virtual workshops on fostering collaboration, enhancing technical skills, proposal writing, and preparing for future NASA opportunities.
  • Gain insight into NASA priorities for future proposals.
  • Attend a two day in-person workshop to network with NASA and other institutions

By the end of the program, PIs will be better prepared for future funding opportunities such as:

The overarching goal of NASA MPLAN is to stimulate creative engagements for MSI researchers, leading to increased participation from MSIs in the development of new technologies that support NASA's mission and commercial market development. Ultimately, NASA MPLAN establishes viable partnerships that can compete in other NASA funding opportunities and open doors to new possibilities and growth.

 

What institutions are eligible? NASA MPLAN awards are available to PIs from approved Minority Serving Institutions, as listed on the NASA MSI Exchange. They include:

  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Predominantly Black Institutions
  • Hispanic-Serving Institutions
  • Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions
  • Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions
  • American Indian Tribally-Controlled Colleges and Universities
  • Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions

Who is sponsoring NASA MPLAN?

NASA MPLAN is administered by the Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) through NASA's Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM).


Guidelines

NASA is soliciting research proposals that fall within the 2024 topic areas that represent a subset of pertinent mission areas for NASA.

  • In Phase 1, PIs submit a proposal to one of the topic areas by April 15, 2024. 
  • In Phase 2, NASA facilitates communication and meetings between Phase 1 awardees, Mission Directorate representatives, and subject matter experts. Selected PIs and their partners (if applicable) will have the opportunity to participate in a kickoff meeting, a two-day in-person workshop, engage monthly with NASA researchers, identify opportunities with NASA, and network with other PIs. These sessions are expected to occur between June and December 2024. 

 

It is highly encouraged that awardees participate in Phase 2 meetings to exchange information and receive the full benefits of this program.

 

Award

NASA MPLAN Awards provide resources to MSIs to further develop ideas, facilitate research and development, and engage stakeholders. Successful proposals result in awards with a maximum amount of $50,000.

NASA intends for winning solvers to utilize their prize funds for various purposes such as staff support, student experiences, professional development, travel, meetings, focus groups, research, evaluation, consultants, specialized resources, technical expertise, and support needed to develop and implement proposed strategies and approaches. 

NASA MPLAN Awards are prizes, not grants or cooperative agreements. There are no formal reporting requirements on the use of funds, no restrictions on how the funds can be used and no period of performance by which they must be used by. However, NASA will provide support in Phase 2 up to December, 2024.

Awards are anticipated to be dispersed to MSIs within 45 days of the winner announcement, pending the on time submission of the award documents by the MSI.

MSIs may submit to any of the topics found here

 

Roles and Responsibilities

Each recipient appoints a Principal Investigator (PI) in support of its award. It is suggested that PIs assume primary responsibility for implementing, operating, and managing the project as described in their original proposal. The PI may want to consider taking on some or all of the following tasks:

  • Leading, administering, and evaluating the project and its activities;
  • Collaborating with university leadership to promote Underrepresented Minority (URM) advancement in engineering;
  • Supervising project staff and ensuring compliance with policies and laws;
  • Using research-based best practices for the project;
  • Managing project budgets and complying with funding guidelines;
  • Participating in meetings and delivering progress reports in a timely manner;
  • Participating in performance assessment and evaluation activities aligned with federal government's priorities.

Proposals

Each proposal must include a completed submission form and budget.

Proposals should not include any proprietary information. Proposals should only include information that can be made publicly available without compromising any intellectual property or proprietary rights.

NASA MPLAN proposals are intended to be short, concise, and lower effort than grant applications.

Submission Form

Award proposals should be written at a conceptual big picture level, focusing on the overall goals and objectives of the award as detailed in the submission form:

  1.  MSI Information:
    1. Name of institution
    2. Address of primary campus of institution
    3. Name and email of Principal Investigator and their role at the institution
    4. Optional: Name and role of any other key participants from the MSI, including their level of support in the planning effort.
    5. Zip folder containing the CVs of the Principal Investigator and, if applicable, CVs of any other key participants from the MSI.

       
  2. Team Members and Partners
    You may provide information for up to 5 additional team members and/or partners, beyond the Principal Investigator. Submitters may have more than 5 additional team members/partners, but will only be able to provide information for up to 5. 

    Team members and partners are optional, except for topic areas under the MUREP Small Business Technology Transfer (mSTTR) topic in the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), which require a small business partner.
    1. For each team member:
      1. Role: select one of Co-Principal Investigator, Small Business Concern/Partner, Other University Team Member, or Other Partner (not small business)
      2. Name and email
      3. Partner capabilities (CV, slick sheet, capabilities statement, etc. PDF upload)

         
  3. The Proposal:
    1. Topic selection: select one topic from the list here 
    2. Intended or desired start date of the proposed project or activity (after June 1, 2024)
    3. Intended or desired start date of the proposed project or activity (there is no set period of performance for the funds; however, we recommend a proposal end date on or around December 2024 to correspond with the end date of NASA support)
    4. Total amount of funds needed for the proposed project or activity, including all anticipated expenses and costs.
    5. Executive summary: High level overview of the proposed technology or activity, including the problem being addressed. (max 1200 characters)
    6. Project objectives: What are the desired outcomes of your project or activity? (max 1200 characters)
    7. Approach to Research/Technical Innovation: A description of the proposed technology or activity, the degree of innovativeness, potential approaches to developing the technology, and key risks and mitigation strategies. (max 2700 characters)
    8. Potential Applications to NASA: Potential NASA applications or missions which might benefit from developed technology, potential commercialization opportunities. (max 1300 characters)
    9. Attach a completed budget for your proposed project or activity, using the budget template provided here.
    10. Optional: Background and Literature Review: A review of the work done in the field, emphasizing the problem and attempts to tackle it. (max 2000 characters)

 

Budget

Applicants submit a budget using the budget template (view a sample budget here). Budget details are provided to allow for assessment of the type of skills/expertise engaged in this effort and the number of hours committed.

Requirements:

  • Use of Government facilities or contracted technical support should not be included in the budget submission. 
  • At least 50% of the budget must go to the MSI.
  • Proposed projects should not begin until June 1, 2024.
  • The budget requested for this award cannot exceed $50,000.

Recommendations:

  • Budget proposals should cover activities up to December 2024. 
  • Consider allocating funds for travel for up to two in-person meetings within the United States, as there may be opportunities to engage with your Mission Directorate cohort.
  • As this is a prize and not a grant, we recommend that no indirect costs be included in the budget.
  • Materials and supplies budget not exceed 10% of the total funding.

Timeline

  • Open for submissions: February 12, 2024 
  • Pre-proposal information session: February 22, 2024 at 2:00 pm ET
  • Submission deadline: April 15, 2024 at 5:00 pm ET
  • Selection Announcement: June 2024
  • Round 2: June 2024 - December 2024 (6 months)
    • Kickoff Meeting: July 11, 2024, 2 pm ET
    • Week of August 5 2024: In-Person Workshop (two days)
    • Cohort meeting/ SME session 1: September 5, 2024, 2pm ET
    • Cohort meeting/SME session 2: October 10, 2024, 2pm ET
    • Cohort meeting/SME session 3: November 7, 2024, 2pm ET
    • Cohort meeting/Close out session: December 5, 2024, 2pm ET

Judging Criteria

NASA selects proposals for award that offer the most advantageous research and development (R&D), deliver technological innovation that contributes to NASA’s missions, provides societal benefit, and grows the U.S. economy. In evaluating proposals, NASA prioritizes the scientific and technical merit of the proposal, as well as its feasibility and potential benefit to NASA's interests (as described in the judging criteria below). NASA strives for a balanced project award portfolio that takes into account diverse factors, including but not limited to, different types of institutional representation, participation by individuals traditionally underrepresented in STEM studies and careers, and geographic diversity.

Each proposal is evaluated and scored on its own merits using the evaluation factors for award described below:

Section DescriptionOverall Weight
Scientific/Technical Merit 
  • Evaluation of proposed R&D effort on innovative and feasible technical approach to NASA problem area;
  • Demonstration of relevance to one or more NASA missions and/or programmatic needs;
  • Clear presentation of specific objectives, approaches, and plans for developing and verifying innovation;
  • Demonstration of clear understanding of the problem and current state of the art;
  • Assessment of understanding and significance of risks involved in the proposed innovation.
50%
Experience, Qualifications, and Facilities
  • Evaluation of technical capabilities and experience of Principal Investigator (PI), project manager, key personnel, staff, consultants, and subcontractors;
  • Assessment of consistency between research effort and level of support from involved parties;
  • Demonstration of adequate instrumentation or facilities required for the project;
  • Detailed consideration of any reliance on external sources, such as Government-furnished equipment or facilities.
25%
Feasibility & Reasonableness
  • Evaluation of whether the proposed plan, schedule, and budget is appropriate for the project/activity
25%
2024 Awardees
Mission Directorate Topics
Updates13

Challenge Updates

Announcing NASA MPLAN 2024 Awardees

July 2, 2024, 12:34 p.m. PDT by Dan Reitz

NASA Awards Support STEM Research at Minority Serving Institutions

 

NASA has selected 23 minority-serving institutions to receive $1.2 million to grow their research and technology capabilities, collaborate on research projects, and contribute to the agency’s missions for the benefit of humanity.

Through NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Partnership Learning Annual Notification (MPLAN) award, selected institutions will receive up to $50,000 each for a six-month period to work directly on STEM projects with subject matter experts in NASA’s mission directorates.

View the full press release here: 

https://www.nasa.gov/news-release/nasa-awards-support-stem-research-at-minority-serving-institutions/ 

 

The awardees are as follows:

  • Arizona State University

Drones for Contact-inclusive Planetary Exploration

  • California State University-Dominguez Hills

Bioinspired Surface Design for Thermal Extremes

  • California State University-Fresno

Human-Centric Digital Twins in NASA Space Missions

  • California State University-Northridge

Repurposing Lander Parts into Geodesic Assemblies

  • California State University, Monterey Bay

Crafting Biofuels via Molecular Insights

  • CUNY New York City College of Technology

Polyethylene Glycol Diacrylate for Seed Growth: Microgreens in Space

  • Delgado Community College, New Orleans, Louisiana

Freshmen Access to CubeSat Education

  • Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, North Carolina

New Tech for Storm Tracking with Machine Learning

  • Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia

Sustained Approach for Energetic Lunar Operation

  • New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Information-Theoretic Multi-Robot Exploration

  • Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

Robot Leg Design for Lunar Exploration

  • Regents of New Mexico State University

Extreme Aerodynamics Over Small Air Vehicles

  • San Diego State University

Enhanced Aero-Composites: Reinforcement Innovation

  • San Francisco State University

Early Non-invasive Diagnosis of Heart Diseases

  • San Jose State University

Designing Resilient Battery System for Space

  • Southern University and A & M College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

X-Ray 3D Printing of Nanocomposites for AME

Plant Antimicrobial in Space Exploration using AI

  • Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia

Non-contact Optical Sensor for Biomedicine

  • The Research Foundation of CUNY on behalf of City College, New York

Soft Tendril-inspired Robot for Space Exploration

  • The University of Texas at San Antonio

Hydrodynamic Stability of Jets via Neural Networks

Low-SWaP Water Electrolyzer for Lunar/Martian In-Situ Resource Utilization

  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Tuneable NanoEnergetic Microthruster Cartridges

  • University of California, Irvine

Flexible Modular Robots for Extreme Access

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa

Ultrasound methods for monitoring carcinogenesis

  • University of New Mexico

All-climate and Ultrafast Aluminum Ion Batteries

 

To learn more about MPLAN, visit:

https://go.nasa.gov/49gsZ9X


1 Hour Warning

April 15, 2024, 1 p.m. PDT by Dan Reitz

MPLAN 2024 submissions are due in 1 hour, by 5 pm Eastern Time

 

If you need any last-minute assistance, check out our FAQ, webinar recording, eligibility & rules, and, if needed, post in the discussion forum.


5 Hours Left

April 15, 2024, 9 a.m. PDT by Dan Reitz

Only 5 hours until the submission deadline!  All submissions are due TODAY, April 15th, by 5 pm Eastern Time, with no late submissions or extensions.

 

Have questions? Check out our FAQ, webinar recording, eligibility & rules, and, if needed, post in the discussion forum.


Submissions Due Today!

April 15, 2024, 5:36 a.m. PDT by Dan Reitz

Today is the day!  All submissions are due TODAY, April 15th, by 5 pm Eastern Time

 

Have questions? Check out our FAQ, webinar recording, eligibility & rules, and, if needed, post in the discussion forum.

 

We are excited to hear from you!


Submission Due Tomorrow!

April 14, 2024, 9:39 a.m. PDT by Dan Reitz

Hello MPLAN Solvers!  This is a reminder that all submissions are due tomorrow, April 15th, by 5 pm Eastern Time. We are unable to accept late submissions, so make sure to get them in on time!

 

Have questions? Check out our FAQ, webinar recording, eligibility & rules, and, if needed, post in the discussion forum.


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