Building STEM Capacity at Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs) to Broaden Participation in NASA Education and Research Initiatives through the NASA MUREP Sustainability and Innovation Collaborative (MUSIC)
This two-year cooperative agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Office of Education’s MUREP MUSIC will enable the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network, in partnership with Bowie State University, to conduct a series of information awareness, networking, and proposal development activities for faculty and staff at minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The QEM–Bowie partnership will focus on promoting collaborative, cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research and will support efforts at MSIs to foster university faculty and staff development related to NASA proposals. MSIs will have opportunities to collaborate with NASA staff, researchers, and contractors as well as other institutions to enhance their research, academic, and technological capabilities, In turn, participating NASA staff, administrators, program directors, and researchers will gain knowledge on strategies that broaden the participation of MSIs and their faculty/students in STEM research and education.
The Project’s goals, which will facilitate NASA MUSIC goals/objectives, are to:
1) Increase institutional awareness of NASA’s competitive funding resources available to support building STEM capacity at MSIs;
2) Broaden participation of STEM faculty at MSIs in NASA research and mission-specific technology development; and
3) Disseminate information to the broader MSI STEM community and scale up what works in broadening participation of STEM faculty at MSIs in NASA research and mission-specific technology development.
The QEM Network, with Bowie State University, will design and conduct an information awareness and networking forum with sponsored program staff, administrators, and STEM faculty; virtual and in-person institutional capacity-building training sessions, including NASA mission-focused proposal development workshops for faculty, as well as post-workshop webinars and follow-up technical assistance activities; and faculty scholarly development initiatives, with a focus on junior faculty and doctoral students/post-docs. In addition, QEM Network will create and maintain a project resource website and listserv; and also develop a faculty mentoring network that will include NASA researchers, STEM professionals in industry, and NASA grantee PIs and other STEM researchers from MSIs as well as other higher education institutions. This innovation-focused network will facilitate mentoring, networking and collaboration efforts among and between participating faculty and NASA as well as other stakeholder groups (e.g., industry and other federal agencies).
The professional development events will connect faculty and staff at MSIs to cutting-edge initiatives at NASA to increase their interest in securing research and contracting opportunities while developing a broadening participation network of MSIs around common interests, and challenges. Effective strategies and tools will be used to optimize resources and develop formal and informal partnerships. Ultimately, the proposed series of activities should result in a diversity of Institutions that submit funding applications for NASA contracts and grants. The project materials will be publishable, quality training materials, designed to accomplish the MUSIC goals and will be broadly distributed to all MSIs to support their capacity-building efforts. Expected outcomes from this two-year project include: proposal submission rates and success rates will increase as a result of the opportunity following training events for participants to receive ongoing technical assistance; and NASA’s research portfolio will become more diverse, with institutions and faculty/students from groups underrepresented in STEM conducting NASA-relevant research.