1. Cycle 8 Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN 8) for the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI)

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate has released a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) soliciting team-based proposals for membership in the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI).

    Solicitation Number: NNH17ZDA003C
    CAN Release Date: February 27, 2017
    Step-1 Proposal Due: April 12, 2017
    Step-2 Proposals Due: July 6, 2017

    The goal of the CAN Cycle 8 is to maintain a multidisciplinary institute by selecting focused, interdisciplinary teams that complement without replicating the strengths of the continuing teams. The teams selected in Cycle 8 will replace the teams selected in Cycle 6, whose five-year Cooperative Agreements are expiring.

    The CAN for Cycle 8 will require a brief Step-1 proposal to be submitted six weeks after the release of the CAN. Based on a programmatic review of these Step-1 proposals, proposers will be encouraged to or discouraged from submitting a full proposal. Other changes to previous solicitations are described in section 1.7 Public Access to Research Materials and Results of the CAN.

    Issuance of this CAN is dependent on programmatic factors, including NASA receiving an appropriation and operating plan containing adequate funding within the NASA Planetary Science Division budget. Any costs incurred by prospective investigators in preparing submissions in response to this CAN are incurred completely at the submitter’s own risk.

    Programmatic questions regarding this solicitation should be submitted in writing or via E-mail no later than 10 days prior to the Step-2 proposal due date to:

    Dr. Mary Voytek
    Senior Scientist for Astrobiology/ NAI Program Scientist
    Science Mission Directorate NASA Headquarters
    300 E Street SW
    Washington, DC 20546
    Phone: (202) 358-1577
    E-mail: mary.voytek-1@nasa.gov

    The CAN 8 Solicitation (NNH17ZDA003C) and related documentation are available on the NSPIRES website.

    A preproposal conference was held on March 10, 2017 to provide interested parties the opportunity to better understand the intent, scope, and selection criteria of this CAN. Slides from the preproposal conference are available:
    NAI CAN Cycle-8 Preproposal Briefing
    NASA Astrobiology Institute Overview

    FAQ’s

    Q: Is someone allowed to be a Co-I on more than one NAI team? 
    A: Yes you can be a Co-I on multiple teams.  However, proposing the same research multiple places is not permitted.

    Q: Are any references in Step -1 counted towards 5 pages limit?
    A: References are not counted in the 5 pages.

    Q: Are images/pictures allowed in Step-1 or is it text only?
    A: Yes you can include images or figures in the body of your step 1.  

    Q:  If a team member is a junior scientist (postdoc) and listed as a collaborator, and they move to another institution taking a permanent position (e.g. tenure track faculty), is there a mechanism to move them to Co-I status and flow funding to them? Might requests for supplemental funding be possible in such cases?
    A: You can list the postdoctoral as a Co-I.  As long as you include funding for the postdoc you can request permission to make it a sub award when they move.  Supplemental funding in general is not available and in particular not for this situation.

    Q: Given the new proposed federal budget, pending details to be announced, should we prepare to include an educational component in STEP-2? 
    A: No, CAN 8 proposals should not include an education component. The new proposed budget is not expected to flow education funds back into the individual programs, the centralized model for Education funding that we have now is expected to continue.

    Q: Page 19, Section 5.1.2.2 Merit of the Science Management Plan. The 2nd bullet states “…noting the portion of each individual’s time…” Just wanted to confirm that the information we list in the Summary of Personnel and Commitments section of the proposal is being repeated in the Science Management Plan section? 
    A: Yes we would like it in both places.  One is about resources and one is about roles and responsibilities, including time committed.

    Q: On page A-1 one of the bullets reads “Summary of Personnel, Commitments, and Costs” and on page A-3 one of the bullets reads “Summary of Personnel and Commitments” Is there a typo here? I’m interpreting this as two different requirements by adding the cost to one and not the other – and keeping it all to 1 page limit. 
    A: Yes, there is a typo.  Please do not include costs.  This should simply be a table of work effort for all participants.