NASA Space Tech Catalyst Prize: $25,000 To Diverse Innovators

NASA, STEAM, Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, Denna Lambert, Grant

NASA’s Denna Lambert discusses NASA’s diversity initiative in an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.

The NASA Space Tech Catalyst Prize is recognizing and rewarding individuals and organizations in the United States for their effective strategies in engaging underrepresented and diverse space technology innovators, researchers, technologists, and entrepreneurs.

Winners of the prize will receive a $25,000 award and have the opportunity to share industry best practices at an in-person event hosted at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

The prize is currently open to teachers, mentors, individuals, universities, non-profits, and businesses.

In an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, Denna Lambert, Early Stage Innovations & Partnerships (ESIP) and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) lead at NASA, emphasizes the critical role of diversity in driving space technology innovation forward.

Selection Criteria

As NASA aims to learn from successful outreach efforts, this initiative seeks to pave the way for future engagement and capacity-building through diverse community contributions to cutting-edge space technology research and development.

“We want to see the impactful work that applicants are doing,” Lambert shares. “We are looking for relevance, strategy, and how well applicants integrate with the communities they serve.”

Applicants are required to submit a short-form video showcasing their actions in the field.

“We ask for a 2-minute video, and it doesn’t need to have high-production value,” Lambert explains. “Keep it simple. In the video, tell us your story and provide us with two references for verification.”

NASA’s Broader Goals of Promoting Diversity and Fostering Innovation

NASA’s goal with the Space Tech Catalyst Prize is to encourage new individuals and organizations to take advantage of the opportunities offered by NASA. While NASA sets the requirements, there is a push to achieve a balance between industry and academia.

“We have phase one opportunities, and now we are introducing phase zero,” Lambert says.

For Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), a technical assistance grant is available to help build teams for better proposal submissions.

Lambert emphasizes that “our success is not only measured by the number of proposals received but also by the number of new entrants who are selected, meet the technical criteria, and demonstrate strong innovative concepts.”

Advice and Encouragement for Applicants

  1. The number one thing is to not opt out! Lambert advises everyone to apply and bring their best ideas.
  2. Think beyond the application. Join forces with others where it makes sense. “A lot of our missions involve teams with hundreds of people. It’s not just one person’s idea, but the collective contribution,” she says.
  3. Help spread the word. Lambert encourages everyone interested in this initiative to apply for the NASA Space Tech Catalyst Prize and get involved.

How to Apply

Applicants must use the provided link to create a profile and access the submission form. Register no later than February 8, 2024, to submit proposals. Register Here.

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