NASA has launched an initiative to use its out-of-this-world missions and technology programs to boost summer learning programs. NASA’s Summer of Innovation supports President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign for excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education.

The Summer of Innovation program will work with thousands of middle school teachers and students during multi-week programs in the summer of 2010 to engage students in stimulating math and science-based education programs. NASA’s goal is to increase the number of future scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, with an emphasis on broadening participation of underrepresented groups.

NASA plans to release a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) entitled Summer of Innovation Pilot Program to consortia of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (Space Grant). NASA has determined that submitters for this opportunity must be the Lead Institution of the state’s Space Grant Consortium. The Space Grant national network includes more than 850 affiliates from universities, colleges, industry, museums, science centers, and state and local agencies supporting and enhancing science and engineering education, research and public outreach efforts for NASA’s aeronautics and space projects. These affiliates belong to one of 52 consortia in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. There may only be one proposal per state.

Representatives of interested public/private entities including other federal agencies, non-profit and for-profit entities, and organizations/associations with relevant experience, are encouraged to contact the state Space Grant Director in the state(s) of particular interest.

Contingent upon the availability of funding, NASA intends to competitively select up to seven states to pilot the Summer of Innovation during 2010. Awards may range from $1 million – $5 million dollars each will have a period of performance of 36 months. Local programs will be required to develop ways to keep students and teachers engaged during the school year and to track student participants’ performance through 2012. Awardees will be expected to leverage the unique capabilities and resources of program partners to ensure a sustainable effort following the period of performance.

The Summer of Innovation Notice of Intent is available online: