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Special Initiatives Program

Announcement of Opportunity

Applications Open: September 1, 2022
Submission Deadline:
October 24, 2022
Award Announcements:
December 2, 2022


Up to $5,000*
* Subject to availability of funds.


To provide planning grants and supplemental grants for new or on-going informal education projects which have space-related content and are intended to encourage, attract, or retain underrepresented groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematical fields, especially women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.

Special Initiatives Program Announcement of Opportunity 

Proposed Projects Should

  1. Raise the level of exposure and interest of K-12 teachers, students, and the general public in space, aerospace, and space-related science, design, or technology and its potential benefits; and/or increase interest, recruitment, experience and training of underrepresented pre-college students in the pursuit of space- or aerospace-related science, design, or technology.
  2. Demonstrate self-sustaining and/or replicable capabilities.
  3. Improve the STEM pipeline by creating a program/project designed to primarily include under-served and/or underrepresented students or the teachers who specifically teach these populations. Federally recognized minority groups include African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Island.

All project proposals should include metrics that clearly measure project outcomes, not just the number of participants.

To Apply:

Application Requirements:

Applicants who meet the following requirements can apply for this grant by registering and applying online at

  • Any established organization (e.g. K-12 and higher education schools, aerospace industries, government agencies, non-profit aerospace associations, etc.)
  • Minimum Matching funds are required (50%)

Current & Past Award Recipients

Supporting Materials Required with Application:

The proposal must address each of the categories listed below. Be sure to clearly number and label each category within the proposal.

  1. Sponsoring Organization Information: Provide demographic information for the sponsoring organization.
  2. Project Description: Clearly state the goals of the new project or the enhancement of an existing project, how it fits into the organization’s scope, and the value of the project to the participants/recipients. Provide a rationale for the anticipated effectiveness of the project in recruiting/retaining promising students in STEM fields. State how the project’s goals align with the goals of the Special Initiatives Program. Specifically state how the project will do one or more of the following for members of underrepresented groups:
    1. Support STEM education innovation that embraces the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and/or Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Science, by raising the level of exposure and interest of K-12 teachers, students, and the general public in space, aerospace, and space-related science, design, or technology and its potential benefits; increase interest, recruitment, experience and training of pre-college students in the pursuit of space- or aerospace-related science, design, or technology.
    2. Demonstrate self-sustaining and/or replicable capabilities. (If this is or will be an on-going project, describe whether and how it might become self-sustaining. How can this project be shared with others interested in starting a like project?) Indicate whether this project (or one very similar) has been funded previously. If yes, then describe its effectiveness both qualitatively and quantitatively.
    3. Demonstrate how the project will improve the STEM pipeline by including underserved and/or underrepresented students in the project or by including the teachers who specifically teach these populations.
    4. Detail how this project aligns with the goals of one or more NASA Directorates or Centers. Please be specific (Aeronautics Research, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, Science, Science Technology, Other). Because the WSGC is required to demonstrate the alignment of each of our projects with NASA Directorate or Center goals, proposals that do not demonstrate such alignment will not be funded. If this proposal focuses on pre-college education, state how the proposal related to national or state education standards for science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics.
  3. Description of Anticipated Participants: In 500 words or less, please address the number of anticipated participants, how they will be selected, target age group, and provide available demographic and numeric information on underrepresented minorities, women, and people with disabilities. (Describe explicitly the split among women, underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities: NASA’s definition of underrepresented minorities includes Black/African-American, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander).
  4. Discussion of the Project: Discuss the proposed project in sufficient detail that the reviewers may ascertain its chance of success. The following should be noted specifically:
    1. Work plan
    2. Project classification: Identify project as NASA Pre-College Education Program or NASA Informal Education Program
    3. Schedule: Please include teacher, student, and/or community engagement dates when applicable.
    4. # of handouts, hands-on activities, events
    5. Self-evaluation criteria, including data on any resulting student interest in Science, Technology,
    6. Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) careers. Long-term data is preferred, especially for programs that have received previous funding.
    7. Types of presentations and/or papers that will be a by-product of this project.
    8. Special facilities needed, and special supporting personnel or organizations
    9. Any history or prior results on the project and the planning status to date.
  5. Budget/Use of Funds: Describe in detail the use of the funds for the proposed project, then estimate the total project costs (direct costs only), and other contributors and their contributed match amount(s) using the Grant Proposal Budget Template Form.

    *A minimum 50% match is required. Add more match columns if there is more than one source of matching funds. Indicate the source of each match.
    **Salaries and Fringe budgets should include the following details: name/position, number of hours, hourly rate, and fringe calculation rates.
    ***WSGC financially supports travel to and from the Wisconsin Space Conference only if expenses are included in this budget proposal. Travel details should include purpose, location and duration.
    ****WSGC will not fund overhead; however, it may be counted as part of the organization’s 50% project match.

    NASA (WSGC is a NASA-funded organization) does not accept the purchase of capital items as reasonable use of funds for this program. Consult the applicant’s institutional policies on what constitutes a capital purchase. Visits by active astronauts cannot be funded as these visits are generally arranged through the Astronaut Office and are typically free of charge to the requesting organization. Field trips will only be considered as a minor component of a project, and only if they are necessary to the project goals.

Award Acceptance Components:

As part of the award acceptance, awardees will be asked to attend and present their project at the Annual Wisconsin Space Conference as outlined in the award agreement, as well as submit the following documents on the WSGC application website under Program Applications/Your Applications:

  • Award Agreement Letter
  • Institution W9
  • Media Release Form
  • One-Paragraph Biography
  • PI Professional Photo
  • Quarterly Invoices/Cost Share Reports with Supporting Documentation
  • Verified Program Match Form
  • Office of Education Survey must be completed by May 15, 2023
  • Interim Report (if period of performance is greater than 6 months)
  • Summary Report
  • Present project at the Annual Wisconsin Space Conference
  • 2-3 Project Photos Featuring Program Participants
  • Alumni Story


Please direct questions about the Special Initiatives Program to:

Bojan Ljubenko, Ph.D.
Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium
WSGC Associate Director for Special Initiatives
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Phone: 920-465-2338

Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium
Carthage College
2001 Alford Park Drive, Kenosha WI 53140
Phone: 262-551-6054

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