NASA Awards $14 Million to Universities for Supportive STEM Efforts

Howard University student Miles Phillips gives NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins a demonstration of his work with lasers during a tour of the Nuclear and Particle Physics Detector Laboratory at Howard University in Washington. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

NASA is investing more than $14 million in 19 U.S. colleges and universities to grow their STEM capacity to participate in critical spaceflight research and prepare a new generation of diverse students for careers in the nation’s science, technology, engineering, and math workforce.

The new MUREP (Minority University Research and Education Project) Curriculum Award was established this year to help Minority-Serving Institutions strengthen their STEM academic offerings.

NASA awarded five institutions a total of nearly $6 million to implement their curriculum-boosting projects. The selected institutions and their proposed projects are:

  • Passaic County Community College, Paterson, New Jersey
    PCCC Urban Climate Change Initiative
  • Prince George’s Community College, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
    Establishing STEM Majors at Prince George’s Community College
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    Enhancing IDEAS at a Minority- and Hispanic-Serving Institution through research and education for underserved students in partnership with NASA
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas
    Remote-sensing and Analytics for Integrating Science Education with NASA SMD to Strengthen Student Research Capacity at MSI (RAISE)
  • University of the District of Columbia, Washington
    Developing NASA-infused Curriculum and Experiential Research for Student Success in Space Technology

The MUREP Space Technology Artemis Research opportunity supports NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) by fostering and increasing MSI participation in research and technology development concepts that algin with the agency’s needs for upcoming Artemis missions to the Moon. The agency chose nine institutions, awarding a total of more than $8 million to carry out their projects.

The selected institutions and their proposed projects are:

  • Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, Pomona, California
    CubeSat Technology Exploration Program (CubeSTEP)
  • California State University, Los Angeles
    Additive Manufacturing on the Moon: Exploring the Potential of Laser Wire Directed Energy Deposition for Metallic Component Fabrication
  • Cankdeska Cikana Community College, Fort Totten, North Dakota
    The Research and Development of Extravehicular Activity Gait Assist Device
  • Delaware State University, Dover
    Constraining Exospheric Water Using Mid-IR Sensing and LIBS for Lunar Rover Missions
  • College of the Desert, Palm Desert, California
    A Penetrolyzer for Extracting Oxygen and Hydrogen from Mars Regolith
  • Morgan State University, Baltimore
    Muscular Atrophy Effects of Long Duration Human Exploration Mission on Vocal Fold Adduction for Airway Protection
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne
    DREAM: Developing Robotic Exploration with Agrobots and Moonbots
  • University of North Texas, Denton
    Protective Thermal Electro-Chromic Coatings (ProTECC) for Lunar Exploration
  • The University of Texas at Arlington
    Rotating Detonation Rocket Engines for In-Space Propulsion: Integrating Technology Development with STEM Engagement

The International Space Station Flight Opportunity provides a ride to low Earth orbit for mature, flight-ready research projects that align with NASA’s science and technology priorities. This opportunity entails cooperation with NASA’s International Space Station Research Office, mission directorates, and field centers.

NASA selected five institutions to receive $100,000 each – $500,000, total – to complete their projects. These institutions and their proposed projects are:

  • University of Delaware, Newark
    Impact of Temperature Cycles and Outgassing on the Fiber-packaged Silicon Photonic Transceivers
  • University of North Dakota, Grand Forks
    Effect of Microgravity and Higher Radiation on Healing and Metastasis Potential of Omentum – ISS Flight Opportunity
  • Nevada System of Higher Education
    A Compact, Non-invasive, and Efficient Vision Screening System for Long-term Spaceflight Missions
  • University of Kentucky, Lexington
    KRUPS: ISS Flight for Telemetry and Recovery
  • Oklahoma State University, Stillwater
    Effect of Synergistic Space Effects on Properties of Novel Polymer Composite Materials

The awards are made possible through NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement and funded by MUREP, which provides resources and activities to support underserved students from K-12 through higher education, and EPSCoR, which partners with government, academia, and industry to improve research infrastructure in select U.S. jurisdictions.

Both MUREP awards were made through the annual Engagement Opportunities in NASA STEM FY 2023 solicitation. The EPSCoR ISS Flight Opportunity Award is also an annual solicitation. All the awards listed above have a three-year period of performance.