Engaging NASA

Engaging NASA

Touchdown of Mars Perseverance rover (illustration by NASA/JPL)

May 24 and May 27, 2021 | Virtual Workshops

Register here to virtually attend the workshop. Students, staff, and faculty are welcome to join.


On April 19, Ingenuity achieved the first powered flight by an aircraft on another planet. Perseverance is exploring the Jezero Crater and the Artemis Program is planning to return Americans to the moon.

The University of Florida currently has more than 150 UF faculty members involved in NASA-funded research projects, including a key experiment on Perseverance and an active role in the LISA gravitational wave mission. UF faculty also play key roles in developing state-of-the-art technologies for future space missions and figuring out how to feed and sustain astronauts on long missions.

But UF has significant untapped potential for NASA research, so we’re inviting faculty from across the institution to participate in two day-long workshops, where current NASA-funded researchers will share their experiences and familiarity with space-related research. Primarily, we’ll brainstorm how researchers can add a NASA component to research already funded by other federal agencies like the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

On May 24, we’ll focus on NASA’s current mission structure, its origins/history, and the Science Mission Directorate, which is the largest of the four directorates and the one that most overlaps with UF’s diverse research portfolio. A second workshop on May 27 will focus on the remaining three NASA directorates in separate tracks that will allow participants to select the program that is the best fit for their research.

“Created by faculty for faculty, these workshops will present tried-and-true methods to grow and sustain a NASA-funded research program,” said Forrest Masters, professor and associate dean for research in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and a workshop host. “Teams of experienced PIs will share knowledge accrued over many years, even decades, to help attendees succeed with proposing research ideas, building teams and, ultimately, advancing NASA’s mission.”

This workshop will be followed by an in-person event in the fall that will bring faculty together to share their research, form teams, interact with NASA personnel, and explore opportunities to pursue future NASA solicitations.

May 24, 2021, 1:00-4:00pm

Part I. Introduction and Broad Overview (40 min)

  • Presented by Forrest Masters (College of Eng.) and Steve Miller (Mech. and Aero. Eng.)

Part II. Science Mission Directorate (SMD; 120 min)

Portrait of Anna-Lisa Paul and Rob Ferl
Anna-Lisa Paul and Rob Ferl
  • Introduction. Presented by Rob Ferl (UF Research)
  • Astrophysics. Presented by Paul Torrey (Astronomy), John Conklin (Mech. and Aero. Eng.), and Adam Ginsburg (Astronomy)
  • Planetary Sciences and Astrobiology. Presented by Charlie Telesco (Astronomy), Amy Williams (Geology), and Andy Schuerger (Plant Pathology)
  • Earth Sciences. Presented by Jasmeet Judge (Ag. and Bio. Eng.)
  • Biological and Physical Sciences. Presented by Anna-Lisa Paul (Hort. Sci.), Josephine Allen (Materials Sci. & Eng.), and Jamie Foster (Microbio. and Cell Sci.)


May 27, 2021, 1:00-4:00pm

Part III. Second Day Welcome

  • Presented by Forrest Masters (College of Eng.)

Part IV. ARMD, HEO, and STMD DirectorateS (90 min)

Choose a breakout room:

  • Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). Presented by Steve Miller (Mech. and Aero. Eng.)
  • Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEO). Presented by Rachael Seidler (App. Physiology & Kinesiology), Elisabeth Barton (App. Physiology & Kinesiology), Siobhan Malany (Pharmacodynamics), Josephine Allen (Materials Sci. & Eng.) and Heather McGregor (App. Physiology & Kinesiology)
  • Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). Presented by John Conklin (Mech. and Aero. Eng.)

Part V. Engaging the Broader Community (30 min)

  • Organized by Jamie Foster (Microbio. and Cell Sci.)

Part VI. Closing and Next Steps

  • Presented by Forrest Masters (College of Eng.) and Rob Ferl (UF Research)