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Simple Effective Education and Dissemination (SEED) Grants For Astronomy Researchers


Call For Proposals - 2010


The ASP SEED Grant program supports the ASP's mission to advance science and science literacy through astronomy by encouraging active researchers to engage in public outreach, K-14 formal education, or informal education programs or activities. The application, funding, and reporting processes have been made as simple and easy as possible in order to minimize the "personal overhead" associated with obtaining and fulfilling the obligations of these grants.


The SEED Grant program, initiated by an addition to the ASP's permanent endowment by an anonymous donor, is funded this year by the NASA Herschel Science Center and the Planck Mission.

Herschel is a European Space Agency space telescope with science instruments provided by European-led principal investigator consortia, with important participation from NASA. Herschel studies the Universe by the light of the far-infrared and submillimeter portions of the spectrum. Launched in May 2009, Herschel is revealing new information about the evolution of galaxies throughout the universe, and the formation of stars closer to home in space and time. It also provides a unique look at our own solar system. The Planck Mission, also a European Space Agency mission with significant participation from NASA, was launched in May, 2009 on the same rocket as Herschel. The Planck spacecraft is mapping the heat left over from the Big Bang with unprecedented sensitivity and high angular resolution, adding substantially to our understanding of the early Universe. Given the nature of these missions, SEED Grant proposals involving cosmology galaxy and star formation studies, solar system investigations, and space science will be given special consideration in 2010.

NASA's Herschel Project Office and Planck Mission Office are based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). JPL contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel's three science instruments, and built critical components of the Planck science instruments and will play a major role in Planck data and science analyses. The NASA Herschel Science Center and NASA Planck Mission Office, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, support the United States astronomical community.

The ASP is grateful for this support from NASA, the Herschel Science Center and the Planck Mission.

Herschel Science CenterNASA’s Herschel Science Center

Planck logoThe Planck Mission

Who is Eligible:

Any active researcher in astronomy, astrophysics, or space science residing in the USA, Canada, or Mexico. An active researcher is defined as one who has been the lead author on at least one refereed paper within 24 months of the application, or who is currently actively involved professionally in an astronomy or space science research project. Employees and board members of the ASP are not eligible to apply.

Guidelines and Suggestions:

  • Maximum grant is $2,500.

  • Funds may be used to purchase equipment related to the proposed EPO activity, or to defray expenses associated with carrying out the activity.

    • Allowable equipment expenses include educational equipment for use by students, or in outreach efforts, such as telescopes, astronomical or educational software, or other specialized equipment. General purpose equipment such as personal computers will generally not be funded.

    • Allowable expenses include appropriate materials and supplies, reasonable travel and lodging, and registration expenses for appropriate conferences.

  • The principal activities proposed must be completed within one year after funding by the ASP.

  • ASP funds may be combined with other funding to achieve an educational or outreach goal, but the applicant must specifically demonstrate what "added value" the ASP funds will provide.

  • Because of the size of these grants, the ASP cannot pay any indirect or overhead costs. Proposers who cannot obtain a 100% waiver of indirect costs from their institution may apply for SEED grants as individuals. Funds granted to individuals will be reported to the IRS as miscellaneous income, and individuals receiving SEED grant funding may wish to consult with their personal tax advisor and keep appropriate expense records and receipts.

  • Any significant changes to the grant project or budget from the original proposal, once underway, need to receive prior approval from the ASP.

Examples of Eligible Activities:

The following is a list of possible activities or programs that could be eligible for a grant under the SEED program. It is not meant to limit applicants in any way, but only to suggest possibilities.

  • Development of materials to bring astronomy to new audiences (for example, non-English speakers).

  • Provide materials for development and testing of a novel laboratory exercise for "Astro 101"

  • Purchase educational materials, including ASP publications such as "Universe at Your Fingertips," or Family ASTRO materials, for use in an educator training workshop in which the applicant is involved.

  • Development, use, and dissemination of a well-illustrated college-level presentation on a specific topic or problem in current research

  • Support for joint student-faculty summer research on science pedagogy relevant to astronomy

  • Purchase of a small telescope for donation to a school or youth group, accompanied by a commitment by the proposer to conduct a number of telescope-based and/or leader training activities to ensure long-term effective use of the equipment.

Evaluation Criteria:

The ASP Awards Committee will evaluate SEED Grant proposals on the basis of

  • Originality and innovation

  • Educational impact

  • Applicability, utility, or sustainability beyond the immediate target audience and/or grant period

  • Degree of connection to the proposer's own research

Deadlines and Dates:

Proposal Submission Deadline

July 31, 2010

Announcement of Awards

September 15, 2010

Disbursement of Funds

September 30, 2010


Application must be by email to ASP_SEED_Grants {at}

Application must consist of the following:

  • Abstract not to exceed 250 words,

  • Proposer's name, institution, address, phone numbers and e-mail address. Proposers applying as individuals must provide their Social Security or tax ID number.

  • Project description (not to exceed two printed pages) to include:

    • target audience

    • educational or outreach objectives

    • description of project including specific deliverables

    • involvement of the applicant

    • amount requested

  • Applicant's C.V. or resume

  • If appropriate, one or two letters of support from partners or recipients

  • Budget and budget narrative (not to exceed one page) showing how funds will be used.


Successful applicants must submit a final report within 18 months of the disbursement of funds. The report should describe the project, its results, and lessons learned.


Please address all questions to ASP_SEED_Grants {at}



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