Reviewers will assess the quality of the application, the likelihood for success, and the contribution of the research to NASA’s mission.
Postdoctoral applicants are evaluated on the basis of demonstrated ability as a student and on their potential for making contributions as an independent scientist.
Senior applicants are evaluated on the basis of demonstrated ability as a research scientist.
All applications received by the application deadline (March 1, July 1, or November 1) are reviewed by the Center Advisor to determine if the proposed science is well-suited to NASA’s mission. The Advisor reviews the technical merit of the application to confirm whether the proposed research will support NASA’s missions and goals. The Advisor evaluates the application based on these criteria:
The application (the proposal, the advisor review, letters of reference, and academic and research record) is reviewed independently by three well-qualified, external reviewers. In cases of significant disagreement, reviewers will meet virtually to discuss the application and come to a consensus.
The external reviewers evaluate the application for a Postdoctoral Fellowship or a Senior Fellowship using the following criteria:
In addition, for applications to the NASA Astrobiology Program, selection priority will be given to applicants whose proposed research is particularly interdisciplinary and that extends the individual’s research beyond its current focus. Similarly, applicants responding to opportunities offered by advisors from NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) teams will also be given a higher priority if the proposed research involves collaboration with other NAI teams – as a way of further broadening the scope and impact of the applicant’s research. Learn more at the NASA Astrobiology Program.
The results of the external panel review are then communicated to the respective NASA Center, and the Center decides on the award of Fellowships. USRA will notify applicants of the results of the review. The review results are typically available within 2–3 months after the application deadline.