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Astrobiology is inherently a global endeavor. Addressing its research objectives requires international collaboration to provide, among other resources, full access to critical field sites and facilities, interdisciplinary scientific expertise, and unique mission data. The NASA Astrobiology Institute has, therefore, developed a partnership program with other international astrobiology organizations to provide collaborative opportunities for its researchers within the global science community. Non-U.S. astrobiology organizations can propose to become either Associate or Affiliate Partners of the NAI. Associate Partnership entails a formal agreement between NASA and the foreign government. Affiliate Partnerships can be developed at the organization-to-organization level. All NAI international partnerships are conducted with no exchange of funds between the NAI and the international partner.
An important objective of the International Partners Program is to unite and integrate the world-wide astrobiology community. We envision a global network of astrobiologists working across national boundaries to advance the field and strengthen the community. The NAI therefore seeks to form partnerships with organizations representing national or multi-national astrobiology communities, or major segments of such communities. Where possible, a single partner organization from any given nation is preferred. However, when multiple major astrobiology organizations exist within a nation, NAI is open to coordinated partnerships in which all the organizations involved work together toward common goals.
International partnership requires long-term commitment from both the partner and the NAI, together with tangible and specific plans for scientific interaction that will produce results of mutual benefit to both the NAI and the international partner. Although the focus of this program is research in astrobiology, it also includes collaborative activities that address any of the objectives in the NAI’s Mission Statement, particularly training of the next generation of astrobiologists and space flight mission support. International partners are invited to participate in all aspects of the Institute’s activities and programs, including NAI workshops, Focus Group meetings, the NAI Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, and NAI Executive Council Meetings. Mutual exchange of researchers and students is encouraged. Through these and other activities, NAI researchers and international partners exchange ideas, information, and data arising from their respective research efforts, and contribute to the training of young astrobiologists. The conditions and expectations described above apply to both Affiliate and Associate Partnerships. However, due to the government-to-government nature of Associate Partnership, such agreements will be expected to demonstrate a higher level of specificity and productivity in the planned collaborations, the sources of support for those activities, as well as the expected benefit to both the NAI and the international partner.
How to Apply to the International Partners Program
Proposers to the NAI International Partners Program are requested to describe:
- the organizational nature of the proposing group (e.g., consortium, individual institution; academic, government agency, private, non-profit),
- the themes of the scientific work currently being undertaken by the international partner, together with a description of how the research contributes to the field of astrobiology and achieving the goals of the NASA Astrobiology Roadmap,
- the degree to which the proposing organization represents its national (or multi-national) astrobiology community or a major segment thereof; if an NAI International Partner already exists within the country or multinational group, what additional value is added by the proposed partnership,
- specific near-term projects or activities which would involve both partners; e.g., field expeditions, collaborative research, short courses or training programs, workshops, etc.,
- a summary of resources to be made available through the partnership; access to field sites, specialized facilities/instrumentation, mission data/ samples, etc.,
- more general, longer-term, plans for interacting with the NAI community in ways that will advance the goals of the NAI while providing mutual benefit to the international partner,
- for Associate Partnership only, a formal statement of endorsement and commitment from the sponsoring government agency.
Proposals for International Partnership will be Evaluated on the Basis of:
- the relevance of the scientific work being undertaken by the international partner to the Astrobiology Roadmap and its potential synergy with the NAI,
- the feasibility, anticipated productivity, and value of the proposed collaborative activities – and the potential for continued and ongoing development of new interactions of substance between the NAI and the international partner,
- the extent to which the proposing organization represents its national (or multi-national) astrobiology community or a major segment thereof; or if an NAI International Partner already exists within the country or multinational group, how the proposed partnership provides additional and complementary opportunities,
- the nature of funding/endorsement from proposal sponsors, and in the case of Associate Partnership, the strength and level of government endorsement.
Proposal evaluation will be led by the NAI Director in consultation with the NAI Executive Council and NASA Headquarters. Each partnership will be mutually reviewed and reevaluated by the partners approximately every five years.
For additional information about the NAI’s International Partners Program contact: Edward M. Goolish, NAI Deputy Director, at firstname.lastname@example.orgFebruary 28, 2013
- Astrobiology Society of Britain (ASB)
- Canadian Astrobiology Network (CAN)
- Centro de Astrobiología (CAB)
- European Exo/Astrobiology Network Association (EANA)
- Helmholtz Alliance: Planetary Evolution and Life
- Instituto de Astrobiología Colombia (IAC)
- Nordic Network of Astrobiology
- Russian Astrobiology Center (RAC)
- Société Française d’Exobiologie (SFE)
- Sociedad Mexicana de Astrobiología (SOMA)
- UK Centre for Astrobiology
- University of São Paulo (USP) Research Unit in Astrobiology (NAP-Astrobio)
- Australian Centre for Astrobiology (ACA)