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NSBRI News: NSBRI, NASA soliciting research proposals

The National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) and NASA's Human Research Program are jointly soliciting ground-based, analog definition and flight definition proposals. The NASA Research Announcement NNJ12ZSA002N entitled "Research and Technology Development to Support Crew Health and Performance in Space Exploration Missions" was released July 30, 2012.

This NRA is available through the NASA Research Opportunities homepage and then linking through the menu listings "Solicitations" to "Open Solicitations." On the Open Solicitations page, select NNJ12ZSA002N from the list of Solicitations.

NSBRI is soliciting proposals for six of its seven research teams. Research topics include visual impairment observed in U.S. astronauts. The topic areas include:

Cardiovascular Alterations

Examine the role of venous constriction and compliance in spaceflight-associated visual impairment and increased intracranial pressure, the effects of the environmental conditions likely to be encountered in space on venous compliance, and consequential predisposing factors.

Human Factors and Performance

Using operationally relevant scenarios or tasks for the spaceflight environment, develop and validate methods to assess task performance in real-time, provide immediate feedback, and recommend appropriate changes in time to improve mission outcomes.

Musculoskeletal Alterations

Integrate and measure the effectiveness of a suite of fully developed products and programs that can heighten the exercise experience of astronauts using the equipment available on the ISS. Outcomes determined should include adherence to fitness goals, aerobic and musculoskeletal health, motor activity repertoire in microgravity, and the alleviation of stress and maintenance of behavioral health.

Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors

Refine entirely non-obtrusive objective means of detecting and mitigating cognitive performance deficits, stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression for the operational setting of spaceflight.

Sensorimotor Adaptation

Using an animal model that appropriately parallels the anatomical, vascular and retinal characteristics of the human visual system, examine the contribution of the spaceflight environment and any underlying predisposition, to the retinal pathology (optic disc edema, globe flattening, and choroidal folds) described in a subset of astronauts, and quantify decrements in visual performance.

Smart Medical Systems and Technology

Refine and validate plug-and-play sensor and effector probes that integrate seamlessly with the proposed NASA Flexible Ultrasound System and address or mitigate medical conditions likely to be encountered during exploration missions.

Proposals are solicited by NASA in the areas of Sensorimotor Impairment and Space Motion Sickness; Epidemiological Evidence of Spaceflight Induced Cardiovascular Disease; Computational Models of Cephalad Fluid Shifts; Spaceflight Biochemical Profile; Maintenance and Regulation of Team Function and Performance over Extended Durations; and Development of Safety and Efficiency Metrics for Human-Automation Systems. NASA is also soliciting investigations or technologies lasting no more than one year that provide innovative approaches to any of the defined risks contained in the Integrated Research Plan of the Human Research Program.

Proposals solicited through this NRA will use a two-step proposal process. Only Step-1 proposers determined to be relevant with respect to the solicited research of this NRA will be invited to submit full Step-2 proposals.

Proposals responding to the NASA emphases and NSBRI emphases must be submitted separately, and will result in separate evaluations and awards. Step-1 proposals are due on Sept. 4, 2012, and invited Step-2 proposals are due on Dec. 3, 2012. Participation is open to all categories of organizations, including educational institutions, industry, nonprofit organizations, NASA centers, and other Government agencies.

Proposals must be submitted electronically. Both Step-1 and Step-2 proposals to NSBRI must be submitted via NSPIRES. Step-1 proposals to NASA may be submitted via the NASA Proposal data system NSPIRES or via Grants.gov. Invited Step-2 proposals to NASA must be submitted via NSPIRES.