NASA is launching Mission Equity, a comprehensive effort to assess expansion and modification of agency programs, procurements, grants, and policies, and examine what potential barriers and challenges exist for communities that are historically underrepresented and underserved.
“NASA is a 21st century agency with 22nd century goals. To be successful, it’s critical that NASA takes a comprehensive approach to address the challenges to equity we see today,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The agency’s new Mission Equity is a bold and necessary challenge for NASA to ensure our programs are accessible to all Americans and, especially, those living in historically underserved communities across the country. Because when NASA opens doors to talent previously left untapped, the universe is the limit.”
NASA issued Tuesday a request for information (RFI), entitled Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities in NASA Programs, Contracts and Grants. To this RFI, the agency is seeking public feedback as it conducts a thorough review of its programs, practices, and policies to assess:
- Potential barriers that underserved and underrepresented communities and individuals may face in agency procurement, contract, and grant opportunities.
- Whether new policies, regulations, or guidance may be necessary to advance equity and opportunities in agency actions and programs.
- How agency resources and tools can assist in enhancing equity, including advancing environmental justice.
Areas in which the agency would like to receive comments include:
- Diversity and Equal Opportunity at NASA and in the STEM Community
- Opportunities for NASA to Leverage its Data, Expertise, and Missions to Help Underserved Communities
- Barriers/Gaps to Accessing Current NASA Grants, Programs, and Procurements
- Engagement and Outreach with Organizations and Individuals from Underserved and Underrepresented Communities
Underserved and underrepresented communities include: Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.
Through the RFI process, NASA hopes to initiate vibrant, meaningful, and ongoing dialogues that will help the agency build and improve current agency policies, practices, and programs. The deadline for public comments to this RFI is Monday, July 12, but we encourage submission of comments as soon as possible to enable early analysis and follow-up discussions.
NASA will host a virtual public meeting on June 29, during which NASA officials will discuss the RFI and corresponding agency goals. More information on this meeting will be made available.
For more information on the RFI, visit:
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of STM Daily News, a part of the TNC Network.