KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), November 9, 2023 – For the seventh consecutive year, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding a solicitation seeking projects that utilize the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory to advance tissue engineering and mechanobiology research. Through this solicitation, NSF will provide up to $1.6 million in funding for multiple projects intending to leverage the orbiting laboratory.
Microgravity affects organisms—from bacteria to humans, inducing changes such as altered gene expression and DNA regulation, changes in cellular function and physiology, and 3D aggregation of cells. Research leveraging these effects can drive advances in modeling healthy and pathological tissues and organs, disease diagnosis and treatment, regenerative medicine, and many other areas within the engineering and the biomedical sciences.
Fundamental science is a strategic focus area for the ISS National Lab, and knowledge gained from such studies could have profound impacts on future research and technology development that brings value to our nation and the scientific community. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space™, manager of the ISS National Lab, has established powerful multiyear partnerships with government agencies such as NSF to fund fundamental research on the orbiting laboratory. NSF supports transformative research to help drive the U.S. economy, enhance national security, and maintain America’s position as a global leader in innovation.
A project selected from a prior NSF-funded solicitation from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco is slated to launch on SpaceX’s upcoming 29th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the space station. The investigation aims to utilize 3D-immune-liver tissue chips in space to better understand the relationship between immune system aging and the ability of liver cells to regenerate. The research team will then look for possible ways to slow the aging process and enhance the liver healing process for patients on Earth.
This solicitation follows a two-step submission process. All interested investigators must first submit an ISS National Lab Feasibility Review Form for evaluation of the concept’s operational feasibility. The deadline to submit a Feasibility Review Form is January 15, 2024. Only investigators whose concept passes the Feasibility Review Form step will be invited to submit a full proposal. The full proposal submission deadline is March 15, 2024.
For more information on this solicitation (NSF 24-502), including how to submit a Feasibility Review Form, visit the ISS National Lab solicitation webpage. To view the full solicitation, please see the NSF solicitation page.
To learn more about the benefits of conducting research leveraging the ISS National Lab, please visit our website.
Download a high-resolution for this release: NASA astronaut and Expedition 62 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir
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About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory: The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Lab allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space™ (CASIS™) manages the ISS National Laboratory®, under Cooperative Agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit www.ISSNationalLab.org.
About the U.S. National Science Foundation: The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts. www.nsf.gov
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