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 C: Development of Microgravity Food Production: Plant Watering, Volume Management, and Novel Plant Research on the International Space Station

Required Step-1 Proposals Due: July 5, 2019

Step-2 Proposals Due: Sep. 26, 2019

The goal of this solicitation is to develop scientifically grounded technology that will enable systems for successful, sustainable production of food crops in space, specifically pick-and-eat salad crops.

The use of plants for human life support and the production of supplemental foods for space has been a long-standing interest for NASA. The production of fresh salad crops for space was discussed in the BioLogistics Workshop held in 1962 (Boeing Corp., 1962), and the concept of developing a “salad machine” plant growth chamber to provide fresh, perishable foods in space settings was suggested ca. 1990 (MacElroy et al., 1992; Kliss et al., 2000). Plant growth systems inside spacecraft or space habitats could provide supplemental fresh foods that may be necessary to enhance the diet (e.g., add flavors, textures, colors and aromas) and add a nutritional complement as specific nutrients degrade in prepackaged foods over a long-duration exploration mission (Cooper et al., 2017). However, many challenges still exist that make successfully growing food crops difficult in spaceflight. 

Through this solicitation, NASA seeks proposals for the integrated research and development of:

1) Edible Plant Water and Nutrient Delivery Systems for Microgravity Spaceflight

2) Edible Plant Spacing Systems

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