Status Report

Request from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine: factors that impede or facilitate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessi

By SpaceRef Editor
August 23, 2021
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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), under a contract with NASA, has subcontracted with NORC at the University of Chicago (NORC) to implement an important research study to understand the factors that impede or facilitate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the proposed leadership for competed space missions at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The results of this study will inform practical recommendations for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA and its partners to reduce impediments to applicants and thereby enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the competitive pool of proposed leaders. This is an independent study under the auspices of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. NASA SMD’s participation in this work is for the sole purpose of disseminating this information to the target audience for the study, and should not be construed as an endorsement of NORC at the University of Chicago or the approaches used in this study.


We are looking for potential key informants in astrophysics, heliophysics, planetary science, and earth science, who have served as Principal Investigator (PI) on at least one proposal for a competed space mission from 2010 to the present (excluding instrument proposals), and would be willing to participate in a discussion around the processes for preparing and submitting a mission proposal to NASA, and elements of the mission proposal process that may present barriers or are facilitators for achieving diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. We are interested in speaking to an array of individuals, who can provide diverse perspectives based on their race/ethnicity, gender identity, career stage, success of applications to NASA, and other factors.  


Participation in this study will comprise a 45–60-minute virtual discussion with an interviewer from NORC. Your participation in the study will NOT be made known to NASA or NASEM, and NO staff outside of the NORC Study Team will know your identity or be involved in the discussion itself. All interview responses will be kept confidential and stored separately from your contact information, and NORC will not share your contact information or interview responses with anyone outside our study team. 


If you are interested in participating in the study, please complete this short Study Eligibility Survey by August 25, 2021: OR reply to The NORC study team will contact you within a few weeks to schedule an interview if you are eligible to participate. 


We would also appreciate you forwarding this email invitation to your colleagues or friends who may be interested in the study as well.


We look forward to hearing from you!





Michael  H. New, PhD            

Deputy Associate Administrator for Research 

Science Mission Directorate

Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters Building

300 Hidden Figures Way SW, Washington, DC 20546-0001

Phone: (202) 358-1766

Pronouns: he/him/his

SpaceRef staff editor.