Space Stations

ISS National Lab Research Announcement: Leveraging the International Space Station for Education and Workplace Development

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
December 14, 2022
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ISS National Lab Research Announcement: Leveraging the International Space Station for Education and Workplace Development
CASIS Academy

The International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory is soliciting research focused on leveraging the ISS for education and training for space-focused careers.

This ISS National Lab Research Announcement (NLRA) is open to U.S.-based institutions (academic, commercial, government, or not-for-profit) with a vested interest in workforce development and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

This research announcement has allocated up to $600,000 in total funding for seven to nine selected projects. Proposals must seek to expand education programs, projects, or public-private partnerships that leverage the ISS for space-based research to engage K-12 students, enhance higher education, or seek to expand online educational engagement via existing or new programming. Additionally, all proposals must promote diversity, inclusion, and outreach into underrepresented demographics.

Concepts submitted in response to this announcement must specifically state how proposed initiatives will target and reach underrepresented demographics and must also address at least one of the following goals:

  • Expand the content and impact of Space Station Explorers by developing digital engagement platforms to increase student and educator participation in existing or new partner programs, including online education products.
  • Create higher education initiatives that deliver opportunities for students enrolled in U.S. colleges, universities, and vocational/technical schools to increase diversity, equality, and inclusion in space-based research, technology development, and the commercialization of low Earth orbit.
  • Digitize space-based K-12 or higher education programming.
  • Develop Career and Technical Education Industry Certifications (CTEs) that pertain to the preparation of students for space careers, or provide professional development for educators who will facilitate CTEs that prepare students for space careers.

Proposals for flight projects must include a statement defining how the scientific aims will benefit from being executed in space and why the proposed investigation can only be performed in space. For example, a project that was previously awarded through this NLRA launched two Mattel Barbie dolls to the ISS to inspire young girls to pursue STEM careers. Through the project, Mattel captured video footage of the Barbie dolls on station to use in an episode of its “You Can be Anything” YouTube series.

The ISS National Lab will host an informational webinar for this solicitation on January 5, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. ET. Through the webinar, educational institutions, organizations, and companies interested in workforce development can review the objectives of the research announcement, discuss educational opportunities related to the space station, and ask questions. To register, please visit the webinar registration page.

This research announcement will follow a two-step proposal submission process. Before being invited to submit a full proposal, all interested investigators must submit a Step 1: Concept Summary for review. Step 1: Concept Summaries must be submitted by end of day on February 28, 2023. Step 2: Full Proposals (from those invited to submit) will be due by end of day May 3, 2023.

To learn more about this opportunity, including how to submit a Step 1: Concept Summary, please visit the research announcement webpage. To learn more about the ISS National Lab and the science that it sponsors, please visit

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.