Research Opportunities in Space Biology (ROSBio)

Funding Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

This National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Research Announcement (NRA), titled Research Opportunities in Space Biology (ROSBio) - 2018, provides the framework for soliciting basic and applied Space Biology research in support of NASA’s Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications Division (SLPSRAD) and the space exploration goals of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD). ROSBio2018 is an omnibus document covering all aspects of basic and applied supporting research and technology in Space Biology. Research opportunities will be announced by issuing Appendices to this NRA, to include, but not limited to: theory, modeling, and analysis of GeneLab or other science data; aircraft, scientific balloon, sounding rocket, International Space Station (ISS), CubeSat, free-flyer and suborbital reusable launch vehicle investigations; development of experiment techniques suitable for future ROSBio-2018 space missions; development of concepts for future ROSBio-2018 space missions; development of advanced technologies relevant to ROSBio-2018 missions; development of techniques for and the laboratory analysis of spaceflight samples returned by spacecraft, as well as ground-based samples that support or otherwise help verify observations from flight science missions; development of integrated biological models; development of systems for applying flight research data to societal needs; and development of applied information systems applicable to SLPSRAD objectives and data.

Specific research opportunities will be announced periodically throughout the coming year as Appendices to this omnibus NRA. Each Appendix will contain detailed information about specific research emphases, applicable platforms, model specimen types, and solicitation logistics sought at the time the Appendix is released. Solicitation Appendices will be released periodically as areas of research are identified. 

Closing Date: July 31, 2023

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Appendix D: Solicitation of Proposals for Flight and Ground Space Biology Research

Step-1 Proposals Due: December 2, 2019

This Appendix to the Research Opportunities in Space Biology (ROSBio) - 2018 NASA Omnibus Research Announcement (hereafter referred to as ROSBio–2018 Omnibus NRA) solicits proposals that will increase NASA’s understanding of how living systems acclimate to spaceflight to support human space exploration. Multiple platforms are available to conduct scientific research investigations.

• The ISS provides a unique platform to conduct experiments in low-Earth orbit (LEO) to answer key science questions on biological responses to an extended duration of spaceflight with on-board human operators available for experiment procedure purposes.

• Ground-based research provides the basis for the design of future spaceflight experiments, broadens fundamental knowledge, and leads to new science questions and improved technologies to use in space exploration.

• Spaceflight, spaceflight analogs (e.g., parabolic flight, suborbital flights, balloons, etc.), and ground-based analog paradigms, such as rodent hindlimb or quadrupedal partial unloading, are critical to research efforts that provide understanding of how biological systems adapt to the microgravity aspect of spaceflight.

Through this Appendix to ROSBio-2018, the NASA Space Biology Program is soliciting proposals for research projects in the following three scientific topic areas:

1) Microbiology studies that will produce new understanding of how microbiological organisms and/or communities acclimate to, evolve, and/or behave in the spaceflight environment. Topical areas include, but are not limited to, the Microbiomes of the Built Environment (MoBE) and evaluating the benefits and health issues for its manipulation and control in the closed environment of an exploration spacecraft; biofilm formation; and mechanisms responsive to and governing phenotypic changes in microbial biology.

2) Plant Biology studies in support of Human Space Exploration making use of the ISS capabilities of VEGGIE, the Advanced Plant Habitat, the Spectrum Imager, and/or the Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) with or without LED on the ISS to study environmental effects on plant growth and interactions with microbes and fungi. (See Section III.A of this Appendix below for information regarding hardware that is available to NASA proposers). Proposed studies should answer fundamental questions about how plants adapt to spaceflight and provide new understanding of how to grow plants in space that will enable human space exploration.

3) Animal Biology (vertebrate and invertebrate) experiments that lead to the characterization of organ systems, behavioral adaptations, and the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms of phenotypic changes within tissues and between physiological systems. These investigations must produce new understanding of how complex organisms respond to and/or acclimate/adapt to the space environment, using ground analogs and/or flight platforms. The derived data may be applicable to advancing human space exploration.

Eligibility Requirements

Participation in this program is open to all categories of U.S. and non-U.S. organizations, including educational institutions, industry, nonprofit organizations, NASA Centers and other Federal Government agencies. Principal Investigators may collaborate with investigators from universities, Federal Government laboratories, the private sector, state and local government laboratories, and other countries. Note: Specific Appendices may limit the eligibility of applicants in different ways.

Amount Description

It is anticipated that awards will range from under $100K per year for focused, limited efforts (e.g., data analysis) to more than $1M per year for extensive activities (e.g., development of flight experiment hardware or flight experiments). The funds available for awards in each program element offered in this NRA range from less than one to several million dollars, which allow selection from a few to as many as several dozen proposals, depending on the program objectives and the submission of proposals of merit. Awards will be made as grants, cooperative agreements, or inter- or intra-agency transfer depending on the nature of the work proposed, the proposing organization, and/or program requirements. When appropriate, the Appendix will specify the type of vehicle contemplated for award. The typical period of performance for an award is three years, but some opportunities may allow up to five years and others specify shorter periods.

Funding Type



Grad/Prof Students
Post Doctoral Fellows


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

July 31, 2023