Who administers the NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP)?
The program is administered for NASA by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations. USRA engages the creativity and authoritative expertise of the research community to develop and deliver sophisticated, forward-looking solutions to Federal agencies and other government sponsors.
What is the difference between the NASA Postdoctoral Research Program and the NASA Postdoctoral Management Program, and who is eligible for each?
NASA Postdoctoral Research Fellows work closely with NASA scientists on their own research programs. By contrast, the NASA Postdoctoral Management Program is designed to provide valuable experience in the management of scientific programs. NPMP Fellows generally work with NASA Program Scientists at NASA Headquarters on a wide range of programmatic activities involving various aspects in the management of a research and analysis program, analyzing the progress made toward the Division’s scientific research objectives, and participating in future mission feasibility studies. NASA Postdoctoral Management Program Fellowships are open to NASA Postdoctoral Research Fellows who have completed at least 1 year of their research fellowship.
Can I apply before I receive my Ph.D.?
You may apply for an award before you complete your Ph.D., but you must complete all requirements for a Ph.D. or an equivalent doctorate degree and provide proof of that qualification before beginning the Fellowship.
How do I determine whether I apply as a Postdoctoral Fellow or Senior Fellow?
A Postdoctoral Fellow has held the doctoral degree for less than five years at the time of application. A Senior Fellow has held the doctoral degree for five or more years at the time of application. This is addressed in the ‘Education History’ component of the application.
How long is an NPP Fellowship appointment?
A Fellowship term of appointment is 12 months. NPP appointmentsmay continue for 2 additional years, contingent on available funding and the continued relevance of the research to NASA’s goals and missions. NPP appointments are limited to 3 years. Year 3 must be funded by the advisor and approved by the Center.
Who decides if an applicant is selected for an NPP Fellowship?
NPP Fellowships are awarded competitively. Each application is reviewed by NASA and by at least three external experts. High-ranking applications may then be recommended for award by NASA. Each NASA Center makes award selections based on NASA’s needs, available funding, and the application review results of the pool of candidates. The NPP Center Representative communicates the award decisions to USRA. USRA notifies the applicant of the Centers’ decisions.
How and when is an applicant notified of an award?
An applicant who has been selected by NASA for an NPP award will be notified first by e-mail, followed by a formal offer from USRA. The offer package consists of an Offer Letter, Terms of Appointment, and supporting materials emailed as PDF attachments. Typically, notifications are made two- to three months after an application deadline.
How long is an applicant eligible for an award?
Applications that pass peer review remain eligible for an NPP award for one year from the application deadline.
How do I apply?
Applications are submitted electronically through USRA’s Applicant Portal website. An applicant creates an account in the Applicant Portal, then enters contact information, educational, work, and research background, names and e-mail addresses of references. The applicant can search for and select a research opportunity through the portal account, and will use this account to upload their research proposal and submit their completed application. Applications can be altered up to the current cycle deadline.
Who do I contact for more information?
Information about the application process and eligibility requirements is available at the Application section of the USRA NPP Website. Potential applicants can send questions to the NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) helpdesk: firstname.lastname@example.org. A full list of USRA contacts is available on the Contact page.