Washington – NASA has selected 13 informal education providers to share $6.9 million in grants through the Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums.
Participating organizations include museums, planetariums, Challenger Centers, aquariums, and other institutions of informal education. Selected projects will partner with NASA's Museum Alliance, an Internet-based, nationwide network of more than 350 science centers, planetariums, museums, aquariums, zoos, observatory visitor centers, NASA visitor centers, nature centers and park visitor centers.
Inaugural projects in the program will engage learners of all ages as well as educators who work in formal or informal science education. The projects will provide NASA-inspired space, science, technology, engineering or mathematics educational opportunities, including planetarium shows and exhibits.
In conjunction with NASA's Museum Alliance, the grants focus on NASA-themed space exploration, aeronautics, space science, Earth science, or microgravity, or a combination of themes. Some projects will include partnerships with elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities.
The first group of projects is set to begin in fall 2009 in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington. The 13 grants have a maximum five-year period of performance and range in value from approximately $100,000 to $900,000 each. Selected projects work with the NASA Shared Service Center in Mississippi to complete the business review necessary before issuance of a NASA award.
Proposals were selected through a merit-based, external peer-review process. NASA's Office of Education and mission directorates collaborated to solicit and review the grant applications. This integrated approach distinguishes NASA's investment in informal education. NASA received 70 proposals from 32 states and the District of Columbia.
Congress funded the Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums grants in 2008. Congress added additional funds in 2009 for new grants. NASA will issue a call for more grant applications later this summer.
For a list of selected organizations and projects descriptions, visit the website and click on "Selected Proposals" and look for “Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums.”
For information about NASA's Education programs, visit the website. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, leads NASA's Museum Alliance. For information about the alliance, visit the website. For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit the website.