Apply for a NASA Universe of Learning Mini-fund

Applications for a NASA’s Universe of Learning mini-fund are now available! U.S. ASTC-member institutions in good standing are eligible to receive up to $2,500 to create projects or programs for their local audience that can be shared with and adapted by other organizations across the United States. Watch this webinar for more information about the program, application procedure, and see examples of programs created by awardees. Apply now, using the online application portal

Application deadline: Friday, August 9.

NASA’s Universe of Learning (UoL) is a STEM learning and literacy program that provides resources and experiences related to NASA astrophysics. Selected programs that receive mini-grants will then share their program models with the wider informal learning community. The goal is to strengthen science learning and literacy, and to enable inquisitive learners to discover the universe for themselves in innovative, interactive ways that meet today’s 21st century needs.

The program is developed through a unique partnership among ASTC, the Space Telescope Science Institute, Caltech/IPAC, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and Sonoma State University. Working together, these institutions provide learners with a direct connection to the science and the missions from across these NASA Astrophysics Division themes: Physics of the Cosmos, Cosmic Origins, and Exoplanet Exploration.

Proposed programs must demonstrate the following elements to be successful mini-fund applications:

  • The described project uses NASA’s Universe of Learning resources to reach audiences via a program, event, exhibit, planetarium show, or other learning experience. (May use other resources as well.)
  • The project can be documented as a model that is transferable to other organizations.
  • Proposing organization has staff that have participated in UoL webinars (watch the videos here).

These are preferred characteristics of proposed projects:

  • Project broadens participation/reaches targeted audiences underserved by STEM opportunities such as girls, underrepresented minorities, people with disabilities, rural audiences, etc.
  • The project draws on strengths of your institution, e.g., multidisciplinary expertise, in-house resources, experiences with targeted audiences, etc.
  • The project takes advantage of subject matter experts from UoL, e.g., virtual or face-to-face speakers, review of science content, access to data/images, etc.


  • Audience size: Short-duration programs should engage larger numbers; programs reaching smaller numbers should emphasize a deeper connection, multi-session experience, etc.
  • Other selection factors will include geographic distribution, institutional diversity, and programmatic variety.

You can preview the application questions here.

Click here to submit your application online.

Applications must be received through the online portal by Friday, August 9.


Wendy Hancock is ASTC’s Senior Program Manager, Professional Development.