New Space and Tech

NASA Launches Planning Award to Connect Minority Serving Institutions with Opportunities

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
NASA's Minority University Research and Education Project
April 11, 2023
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NASA Launches Planning Award to Connect Minority Serving Institutions with Opportunities
NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP)

Today, NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) launched the MUREP Partnership Learning Annual Notification (MPLAN) award.

This award provides up to $50,000 for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to contribute to research opportunities in preparation for larger funding opportunities, including NASA’s annual Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) solicitation.

MPLAN enables MSIs to contribute to NASA research while fostering the potential for long-term partnerships between NASA and MSIs by building familiarity with NASA’s funding opportunities. This initiative helps equip MSIs with the necessary tools and resources to pursue larger research and funding solicitations in the future, particularly SBIR and STTR.

To apply, MSI proposals respond to topics directly linked to the mission needs of NASA’s Mission Directorates for Space Technology, Aeronautics and Research, and Space Operations. In addition to the up to $50,000 award, winners are placed into a cohort for training and support based upon their chosen topic areas, led by the respective Mission Directorates.

MPLAN Awards are intended to provide resources to MSIs to develop and implement proposed approaches to NASA Mission Directorate topics through supporting activities, such as student experiences, professional development, and research.

Background: MUREP is administered through NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement. Through MUREP, NASA provides financial assistance via competitive awards to MSIs, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 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, and other MSIs, as required by the MSI-focused Executive Orders.

The Program: MPLAN invites Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to apply for funding to support research and development that addresses the needs of various NASA Mission Directorates.

The Award: Through MPLAN, NASA provides multiple awards of up to $50,000 each for successful applicants.

Eligibility: The award is open to any minority-serving U.S. community college, college or university, designated and listed by the U.S. Department of Education as an MSI. Participating institutions shall identify a Principal Investigator (PI) who is responsible for the proposed effort. PI’s must be tenured, tenure-track faculty, or a leading innovation member of the lead institution.

To learn more about the opportunity, visit

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