The NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) has a program of partnerships with international organizations to provide collaborative research opportunities for all members of the international science community.

International partner membership requires long-term commitment from both the partner and the SSERVI, together with tangible and specific plans for scientific interaction that will produce results of mutual benefit to both the SSERVI U.S. teams and the international partner. The NASA SSERVI international partnerships program includes collaborative activities that address any of the objectives defined in the SSERVI Mission Statement. It is preferred that organizations proposing partnership represent a broad range of academic or research groups, able to represent the science activity within a country.

International partners are invited to participate in all aspects of the Institute’s activities and programs, on a basis of no exchange of funds. Through these activities, SSERVI researchers and international partners participate in sharing ideas, information, and data arising from their respective research efforts, and contribute to the training of young scientists.

Non-U.S. organizations can propose to become either Associate or Affiliate Members of the SSERVI, as described below.
Affiliate: with non-government institutions; the majority of agreements will be Affiliate.
Associate: a government-to-government agreement; this includes space agencies.

How to Apply to the International Partners Program

Proposal Development
Proposers to the SSERVI International Partners Program are requested to describe:
1) the organizational nature of the proposing group (e.g., academic, government agency, private, non-profit, consortium);
2) the themes of the scientific work currently being undertaken, together with plans for interacting with the SSERVI community in ways that will advance the goals of the SSERVI while providing mutual benefit to the international partner; and
3) the specific areas where productive near-term exchanges/partnerships are anticipated, and areas for longer-term cultivation of interactions.
Proposers are encouraged to include science collaboration plans with existing SSERVI teams, research exchange plans, collaborative field studies, facility sharing opportunities, digital content exchanges, and focus group plans. A sample proposal Proposal Content Outline is shown below.

Proposal Review at SSERVI
SSERVI Central will review the proposal internally using the following criteria:
1) the relevance of the scientific work being undertaken to the science objectives and its synergy with the SSERVI
2) the nature of funding/endorsement from proposal sponsors
3) the strength and level of government endorsement (Associate Membership)
4) the specific areas where productive near-term exchanges/partnerships are anticipated, and areas for longer-term cultivation of interactions
5) any other issues that the SSERVI deems relevant, including the strategic goals of NASA

NASA Headquarters Review
When the proposal is complete and satisfactory to both your team and the SSERVI, it is then forward it to NASA Headquarters, to both the Office of International and Interagency Relations (OIIR) and to Jim Green, Director of Planetary Sciences.

Extra Review for Associate Partnerships
After approval from OIIR and Jim Green, an additional review is done by the State Department. This review is coordinated by the OIIR. Depending on the country in question, this portion of the process can take a long amount of time.

Official Exchange of Letters
After the review at NASA HQ for Affiliate partnerships, Yvonne Pendleton (SSERVI Director) and Greg Schmidt (SSERVI Deputy Director) send an official letter of invitation to the primary partner institution. The letter is typically addressed to a senior official at the institution. After receiving this letter, the lead organization sends a formal letter reply accepting our offer, and the partnership is complete. For Associate partnerships, once the additional State Department review is complete, letters are sent between the heads of agencies for NASA and the partner institution and the partnership is complete.

At this point, there can make plans for joint press announcements, a formal “signing” ceremony if desired, and other activities.

Learn More
To learn more about our international program or to inquire about how to become a partner, contact:
Greg Schmidt, Director of International Partnerships or Kristina Gibbs, Deputy Director of International Partnerships.

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