NASA Aeronautics Research Institute

The Institute, part of NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), was established to pursue ARMD’s objective to make deliberate investments in innovative, early-stage, and potentially revolutionary aviation concepts and technologies. This reflects ARMD’s desire to not only acquire additional innovative concepts within its technical portfolio, but also in the management of this portfolio. The Institute’s formulation and operating concept reflects a new approach for ARMD to introduce fresh lines of research into existing ARMD Programs and Projects. As a result, the NARI will complement other ARMD efforts in seeking early-stage innovative concepts.
(Read more about NARI operations)

The Seedling Fund annually provides NASA civil servants the opportunity to perform research, analysis, and proof-of-concept development of their novel ideas that have the potential to meet national aeronautics needs. The Fund provides resources for early-stage efforts not currently supported by ARMD Programs and Projects, with the goal of infusing promising concepts into the ARMD research portfolio or into NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program for further development. Only NASA civil servants are eligible to lead the research team. Teaming is encouraged but at least half the award money should be used on civil servant labor.

Leading Edge Aeronautics Research for NASA (LEARN)
The LEARN Fund is complementary to the Seedling Fund and has similar goals, but it invests in innovative ideas from outside the agency. It is open to all domestic researchers. NASA civil servants are explicitly prohibited from being team members. LEARN solicitations will be announced annually through the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES). The ARMD investment in LEARN is comparable to the Seedling Fund.

Challenges and Prizes
NARI also organizes prize competitions that address aeronautics challenges in which participants will compete for awards based on the competition rules. Competitions will promote creative solutions and harness innovation from citizen inventors, academics, and entrepreneurial firms. The competition designs will flow from the overall ARMD strategic objectives so that results and breakthroughs achieved during the competitions will address gaps in current aeronautical solutions.

For questions regarding the NARI, please contact:
Michael R. Dudley, NARI Director.