Since 2007, SMD’s four science divisions (Earth Science, Heliophysics, Planetary Science, and Astrophysics) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, have supported graduate student-initiated research through the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships (NESSF). This year, however, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is inviting proposals for graduate student research via a new solicitation entitled “Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology” (FINESST) NNH19ZDA005K.

The FINESST solicitation replaces the 2019 call for new NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships. No currently funded NESSF awards will be impacted by the transition to the new solicitation and universities should continue to request funding on behalf of existing NESSF grants via the NESSF19R solicitation.

The FINESST solicitation and awards will have the following properties, consistent with normal grants under 2 CFR 200:

  • Project proposals may request up to a three year period of performance (POP). POP changes, including no cost extensions, will follow normal NASA grant procedures.
  • Continuation of FINESST awards beyond the first year will require the submission of a progress report via NSPIRES rather that the submission of a ‘renewal proposal’ as was required by NESSF.
  • FINESST proposal costs will be limited to those allowable under 2 CFR 200.75 – Participant support costs (e.g., stipends) and, in general, NASA does not permit indirect costs to be requested or recovered on Participant support costs.
  • In sum, the participating graduate student will be a “Future Investigator” (FI) not a “Fellow”. The change to FINESST should clarify to Principal Investigators (a.k.a. faculty advisors), graduate students, and institutions that these grants are for student-designed research projects that contribute to SMD’s science, technology, and exploration goals. As with other SMD proposals, FINESST proposals will be reviewed for 1) intrinsic merit and 2) relevance to NASA.

    In the future, rather than continue FINESST as a separate funding announcement, SMD expects to add this graduate opportunity as a cross-divisional appendix to SMD’s omnibus research solicitation, “Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science (ROSES)”. It is anticipated that this change will start with ROSES-2020.

    FINESST proposals are due 11:59PM Eastern on February 1, 2019

    NESSF19R proposals are due 11:59PM Eastern on March 15, 2019

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