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Physics of the Cosmos News

Principal Investigator Launchpad workshop in Summer 2021

22 October 2020

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), in partnership with the Heising-Simons Foundation, will host a virtual “Principal Investigator (PI) Launchpad” workshop tentatively planned for early Summer 2021, to explore the fundamentals of how to turn a science question into a mission concept.

The workshop is targeted toward researchers who have previously submitted research, observing, fellowship, and/or technology proposals to any organization and are thinking about developing their first flight mission proposal within the next few years. Participants will go step-by-step through the process to develop a science case, define requirements, build a team, and gain support. The workshop will provide participants with time for networking and personal reflection as they mature their mission concepts.

This workshop is not specific to any particular Announcement of Opportunity. Participation in the workshop is not a prerequisite for submitting a proposal to NASA and will not be a factor in the evaluation of future proposals.

A call will be posted on NSPIRES in early 2021 with an opportunity to apply to Launchpad 2021. The format of the 2021 application will be similar to the 2019 Launchpad application and will consist of no more than 5 questions, focused on:

  • What science question would you like to develop into a mission concept?
  • Views on Leadership.
  • Role of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) in teams.
  • Group and power dynamics in teams.
  • Management for effective teams.

There is no cost to attend the workshop. The workshop will be virtual and exact details are still under development. There will be some pre-work expected to be conducted on your own prior to the workshop.

As before, we are interested in broadening the pool of potential NASA space mission PIs. People with potentially intersecting marginalized identities are strongly encouraged to apply. Anyone interested may apply with exceptions noted below.

Eligibility details: Non-US citizens currently working at a US institution will be eligible. Non-US citizens working outside of a US institution will not be eligible. US citizens working temporarily outside the US (e.g., post-doctoral fellowship) will be eligible to apply. People who have previously been space mission PIs or held other leadership roles (Deputy PI, etc.) with significant contributions during the proposal writing process will not be eligible. Technology development or demonstration concepts will not be solicited for this workshop.

Please find the main Launchpad page here: https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/pi-launchpad

If you have questions, please contact Prof. Erika Hamden at hamden@arizona.edu.

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