Unsolicited Proposals

The International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory supports investigations across a broad spectrum of basic and applied research. As manager of this research platform, CASIS regularly provides solicitation opportunities in the life, physical, materials and observational sciences. However, CASIS also welcomes unsolicited proposals for research and product development that might be suitable for the National Lab.

We believe that exciting ideas for groundbreaking space-based R&D are out there, and we want to make these ideas come to life. The CASIS mission is to fully utilize the National Lab, enabling cutting-edge research on station from every corner of the country. Below outlines our unsolicited proposal procedures:

The Process

CASIS evaluates unsolicited proposals on a regular basis for scientific and economic merit and potential impact. CASIS may contact proposers prior to the review process if additional information is required to review a proposal. However, CASIS encourages proposers to consult with our staff prior to submission. These conversations with staff may address any potential issues in advance, especially regarding feasibility and compliance with flight requirements and capabilities.

CASIS review of unfunded proposals includes evaluation of:

  1. Scientific merit, to justify the use of the space-station research platform.
  2. Potential economic impact, to predict resulting value to the American taxpayer.

If you have not yet secured funding for your proposed project, please note that proposals receiving high evaluation scores from this review may qualify for funding assistance from our implementation partners, and CASIS may facilitate matching of funds.

Instructions for Proposers

Proposals should not exceed 10 pages in length and should be submitted by the Principal Investigator. Any individual or institution capable of executing the proposed research may submit a proposal. However, CASIS will not consider projects using non-U.S. sponsorship.

While our unsolicited proposal process is streamlined, we do require the following items for consideration of submitted proposals:

Proposal Cover Page should include:
Project title
Name of proposer, organization affiliation and participating institution(s)

  1. Background and Overview.
    • Abstract: Describe the scientific problem that you propose to address, anticipated results and relevance to the CASIS goals of benefitting life on Earth and reinforcing U.S. relevancy in the global high-tech marketplace.
    • Background, Significance and Preliminary Studies: Specifically note relevance to the CASIS mission. Include and explain background information from previous studies and preliminary data (e.g., syntheses, measurements or tests).

  2. Detailed Project Plan.
    • Hypothesis, objectives and possible outcomes.
    • Science requirements (including but not limited to activation sequences, substrates and solutions, data capture and analysis techniques, preservation and stowage).
    • Proposed hardware and/or space station facility to be used and proposed implementation partner(s)—or a description of the research team’s ability to independently meet integration requirements.
    • If you are building on previously conducted space-based research, describe the benefit of continuing space-based work in the research pathway. Include a concise description of how the proposed research may advance the pathway and how commercial benefit and/or return on investment may be realized.
    • If you are not building on previously conducted space-based research, describe the significance and potential impact of the project. Include a concise description of why the proposed research must be conducted on the space station and what novelty it will bring to space.

  3. Economic Impact of Project Success
    • Describe the project’s potential commercial impact.
    • What are the potential downstream commercial Earth applications of your project? If the research project addresses primarily fundamental science questions, explain the importance of the project toward knowledge advancement in applicable fields and the long-term path/timeline to a tangible product, healthcare advancement, or intangible benefit to the U.S. population.

  4. STEM and Educational Outreach Component
    • Describe your organization’s existing or proposed STEM program and include details regarding how your research will be featured.
    • If your organization does not currently feature any STEM or other educational outreach programs, a CASIS Education Specialists can assist you with incorporating your research into an existing CASIS STEM program.
  5. Estimated Budget and Time Frame
    • Provide a proposed schedule of major milestones and an estimate of project cost and flight readiness. Note requested funding, how funding will be applied to the project, and any in-kind or matching contributions from the Principal Investigator or partner(s).

  6. Biographical sketch
    • (Maximum two pages) of the Principal Investigator that describes relevant qualifications.
    • Additional team members and affiliations can be listed but are not required. If provided, biographical sketches for additional team members do not have to be counted in the 10 page limit.

  7. Additional Information (Not Required)
    If any of the documents referenced below are submitted with the proposal, they do not have to be counted in the 10 page limit.
    • Provide a brief statement of the proposer’s qualifications, including financial resources and organizational abilities to manage and complete the proposed project.
    • Letters of commercial support and/or cost sharing are encouraged.
    • If another government or funding agency has reviewed the proposed project, proposers must provide the results and scoring details/comments of that review.
    • Provide a list of up to three references familiar with the proposer’s qualifications and/or prior research experience.

For additional information submitting an unsolicited proposal, including evaluation guidelines, click here.

CASIS is open to your ideas and we encourage unsolicited proposals. If you have an idea potentially flight-ready, please click on the link below that will transfer you to the CASIS Unsolicited Proposal Submission section. Be sure to follow each step for proper submission. If there are any questions related to your proposal, please contact us at ideas@iss-casis.org.

Submit Unsolicited Proposal