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2021-2022 FRC Sponsorship Grants

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Update 11/24/2021: Grants have been awarded. Please view the post here.

NASA FRC Sponsorship Application Directions for the 2022 Competition Season

Welcome to the NASA FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) grant application process for the 2022 competition season. We are very excited your team is planning to participate in FRC this year. You are choosing to provide students with the opportunity to use their minds to accomplish an incredible task: starting with ideas that exist only in the minds of your team members and then creating a functioning robot in only a few weeks. Wow! As you get started with the process of applying for sponsorship from NASA, we want to explain a few things to you.

Important Dates:

Grant Application Closes — No exceptions!Thursday, September 30, 2021, 23:59:59 PDT
Awarded grants postedWeek of November 8, 2021
Educational Institutional Support LetterSaturday, December 18, 2021, 18:00:00 PST
Entrance Survey deadlineSaturday, January 8, 2022
Exit Survey deadlineWednesday, June 1, 2022

Limitations of All NASA Grants:

  • While NASA strongly supports the FIRST Robotics Competition being an international program, we regret that NASA cannot offer sponsorship to teams outside the United States of America.

Requirements of All NASA Grants:

All teams selected by NASA agree to the following conditions of sponsorship. Teams not complying with all sponsorship requirements will not be considered for future NASA grants, and may be required to provide reimbursement of funds applied toward their team during the competition year.

  1. “NASA” MUST BE IDENTIFIED as a team sponsor and appear in the sponsored team’s official name on record with FIRST. Other sponsors may be listed before or after NASA, but NASA must be included.
  2. All student team members MUST COMPLETE a brief general online “Entrance Survey” at the beginning of the season and an “Exit Survey” at the end of the season to assist NASA in assessing the impact of the program. The survey at the beginning MUST BE COMPLETED prior to the FRC kickoff event.
  3. Sponsored teams MUST COMPLETE and submit an annual report (aka Chairman’s Award) to NASA.
  4. We must receive a letter of support from your educational institution sponsor (school or other educational entity: 4-H, Non-Profit, Scout Troop, etc). This letter must endorse the team’s desire to apply for funding, confirm the educational sponsor’s commitment to the team, and agree to the conditions of sponsorship. Teams will not be required to submit this documentation until they are selected for an award.
  5. A robot MUST BE COMPLETED and shipped/brought to the appropriate competition(s).
  6. If the sponsorship is associated with a specific regional event (Regional Challenge Grant), sponsored teams MUST ATTEND the specific event for which the sponsorship was awarded. Additionally, teams agree to attend the sponsored competition in its entirety.
  7. Sponsorship MAY NOT BE TRANSFERRED to another team; it must be used by the original team applying for sponsorship.

Additionally, “Year-Two” Teams applying for a second year of NASA sponsorship must:

  • Demonstrate at least $5,000 of existing corporate or community funding.
  • Agree to mentor a rookie robotics team either directly or via telephone/email/etc.

Important notes regarding the NASA FRC Grant Application:

  • Final grant awards are contingent on continuing resolution and the availability of congressional funding.
  • This grant is only available for the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) program level.
  • These awards are not transferable.
  • When providing your contact information, please provide the information for the email account and phone line you check most often.
  • It is expected that a mentor complete the application process with assistance from the students.
  • The complete application process and document submittal process is contained within the “Grant Portal”. After reading and agreeing with the statement at the bottom of the page, click the button to be taken to the registration area. Registration is for access to the NASA sponsorship application site only and does NOT register you with FIRST Robotics Competition.
  • You will not be able to submit an application until you have a FIRST team number (either temporary or final team number).
  • After you log in to the application you will be able to save your work in progress and return to it at a later time for completion. NOTE: a saved application does not constitute a submission. Your application will not be submitted until you click on the “Submit” button, and are presented with the submission status message on the page. After a successful submission, you will also receive an email confirmation. (If you do not receive an email confirmation of your application submission, please check your junk mail/spam folder.)
  • Each team may only apply for one NASA grant each year. Modifications to an application or application resubmission prior to the deadline do not count against this limit.
  • The data you provide in the portal and application will be automatically validated for completion after you click on the Submit button. Problem areas will have a red outline and must be corrected before the data can be saved or submitted. NOTE: Your application has not been saved or submitted until the application saved or submitted status is presented with a pop-up dialogue. After your team’s grant application is submitted, please print the confirmation page for your records and as proof of your submission, just in case.
  • It is encouraged to answer essay questions in a text editor of your choice, then once complete, cut and paste your answers into the appropriate text box within the grant application.
  • In the event that a particular field is flagged while saving or submitting an application, that field can be left blank in order to save existing work. Once the issue surrounding the flagged question is resolved and your application is complete, you will be able to submit it.
  • Should you run into any issues with the portal while using your account or completing your team’s application, please submit a Ticket in the portal with as much detail as possible so we can address the issue in a timely manner.
  • The application page has a 120-minute timeout and starts from the moment you login. If you exceed the 120-minute timeout without saving your application, you will automatically be logged out of the website. In this case, all your unsaved data will be lost. Each time you save or submit your application, the session timer will be reset so you will have an additional 120 minutes to complete your application. 
  • NOTE: The website will stop accepting applications promptly at the specified deadline, in which case, you will not be able to extend your session or submit an application after the deadline, even when logged into the website.
  • You will need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser. 
  • NASA will review submitted applications and inform teams of their selection via the NASA Robotics Alliance Project (RAP) website (https://robotics.nasa.gov). It is our plan to announce selections no later than the Week of November 8, 2021. Please note that this is our current best estimate for the announcement date. The date may have to change due to circumstances beyond our control. If this should happen, a revised estimate of the announcement date will be posted on the RAP website as soon as possible.
  • Please do not wait until the last minute to login and submit your application. The portal will stop accepting applications promptly at the specified deadline, regardless of when you logged in. Note: If your application has errors it will not submit the application even if it’s right at the deadline. You must ensure all errors are resolved prior to submission of application. 
  • The website has been tested and works best using Chrome and Firefox. If you run into issues, please use one of these two browsers. 

Team Classification Definitions:

For the purposes of applying for a NASA sponsorship, teams are grouped into three (3) categories – “Rookie”, “Year-Two”, and “Veteran.” In all cases, we accept the identifications provided by FIRST to determine into which category a particular team falls.

The categories are defined as follows:

  • Rookie – A Rookie Team is one that is new to FRC, having not yet competed in any official FRC event.
  • Year-Two – A Year-Two Team is one that was identified by FIRST as a rookie team during the 2021 FRC competition season and received the $450 sponsorship by NASA during the 2021 competition season.
  • Veteran – A Veteran Team is any team registered with FIRST that had their rookie year during the 2020 FRC competition season or earlier, OR was a Rookie Team during the 2021 competition season and not funded by a NASA Grant..

Types of Sponsorships:

Three (2) types of NASA sponsorships are available to teams: Program Growth and Sustaining grants. Teams may only apply for one (1) type of NASA sponsorship each year.

  • Program Growth Grants: Program Growth Grants are intended for, but not limited to, teams in their first two (2) years of participation in FRC. The grants will provide funding to cover the registration costs for the first Regional event the team signs up for in the 2022 season (for those in a state following the Regional model) or the team’s 2022 district registration (for those in the District model). Program Growth Grants can be awarded to a team a maximum of two times (registration sponsored for up to two seasons). All funding will be sent directly to FIRST, and FIRST will credit the accounts of teams selected to receive a NASA Program Growth Grant.
    • Year-Two teams: Priority will be given to teams that received a NASA Grant as a rookie during the 2021 season (as defined by FIRST). Based on the team’s successful participation in the 2021 season, and their continued participation in the FRC program, any of these teams may apply for a Year-Two Program Growth sponsorship for the 2022 season.
    • Rookie teams: After the Year-Two teams are selected, any remaining resources may be applied to applications received from teams that will be rookies during the 2022 competition season (as defined by FIRST). Depending upon the availability of congressionally appropriated funding, rookie teams that successfully participate in the program in 2022 may apply for a Year-Two Program Growth sponsorship for the 2023 season.
    • Veteran teams: The intent of Program Growth Grants is to assist in the development of newer teams; however, it may not be possible to award all available sponsorships to qualified Year-Two or Rookie teams. In this event, qualified Veteran teams that have applied for Program Growth sponsorship may be selected. Applications for Program Growth Grants from Veteran teams will be considered after all Year-Two team and Rookie team applications have been evaluated.
  • Sustaining Grants: It is recognized that this is, again, an extraordinarily difficult year for many teams due to the national economic situation. Due to the extreme circumstances, many long-term teams have lost significant sponsorship support, and are on the brink of having to disband the team. It is our intent to provide short-term assistance to those teams to allow them to continue productive participation in the program, while they identify and acquire new long-term sponsorship. Toward that end, NASA will accept applications for Sustaining Grants to provide registration awards for qualified Veteran teams. Sustaining Grants are intended to help teams on the verge of disbanding, and are not intended to be funding for a team’s participation in a second or third competition event of the season.

To qualify for a Sustaining Grant, teams must explain in the application and provide documentation that they have lost one or more of the primary financial sponsors they had during the 2021 season, and explain how this loss of sponsorship affects the potential for survival of the team. The team must also describe their plans for recovery of long-term sponsorship, and how this will be acquired in time to sustain the team beyond the 2022 season.

The Sustaining Grants are one-year, one-time grants, and may not be offered again in the future.

To assist with determining which grant your team should apply for, please follow this flow chart:

NASA’s Robotics Alliance Project Contact Information:

Should you have any questions or issues prior to entering the portal, please send an email to AGENCY-FRC-Grants@mail.nasa.gov.  We strive to respond to messages within one business day. If you already have an account with the portal, please submit a ticket via the ticket system within the portal.

Please note this site collects a wide array of information to allow us to effectively review and assess proposals. The contact information collected in the application portal will never be shared with anyone outside of the Robotics Alliance Project Office. If you have any questions or concerns about the collection of this data, please contact us at: AGENCY-FRC-Grants@mail.nasa.gov.

Access to the Portal:

  • Mentors are expected to complete the application process with input from the students.
  • All users must create a new account to apply for a grant this year.

Access NASA’s FRC Grant Portal