University Innovation Project



The University Innovation (UI) Project funds university-led innovation to address system-level challenges in ARMD’s strategic thrust outcomes via independent, NASA-alternate-path, multi-disciplinary awards.


Strategic Goals

The UI portfolio’s strategic goals in descending order of importance are:

  1. Assist in achieving aviation outcomes defined in the ARMD Strategic Implementation Plan through NASA-complementary research
  2. Transition research results to an appropriate range of stakeholders that leads to a continuation of the research
  3. Provide broad opportunities for students at different levels, including graduate and undergraduate, to participate in aeronautics research
  4. Promote greater diversity in aeronautics through increased participation of minority-serving institutions and underrepresented university faculties


Portfolio Elements

The UI Project strategic goals are achieved through NASA Research Announcement awards made through:

  • University Leadership Initiative (ULI): ULI provides the opportunity for university teams to exercise technical and organizational leadership in proposing unique technical challenges, defining interdisciplinary solutions, establishing peer review mechanisms, and applying innovative teaming strategies to strengthen the research impact. By addressing the most complex challenges associated with ARMD strategic thrusts, universities will accelerate progress toward achievement of high impact outcomes while leveraging their capability to bring together the best and brightest minds across many disciplines. In order to transition their research, Principal Investigators (PIs) are expected to actively explore transition opportunities and pursue follow-on funding from stakeholders and industrial partners during the course of the award.
  • University Students Research Challenge (USRC): USRC seeks to develop novel concepts with the potential to create new capabilities in aeronautics by stimulating aeronautics research in the U.S. student community. USRC provides students, from accredited U.S. colleges or universities, with grants for aeronautics projects that also raise cost sharing funds using crowdfunding platforms.


Project Manager

Koushik Datta is the current University Innovation Project Manager for NASA Aeronautics. Steven Holz is the Assistant Project Manager for UI.

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