SHIELD Seed Funding

SHIELD Seed and Early Career Funding

Due Date:  July 31, 2024
Period of Performance: Thru January 1st, 2026

The SHIELD Management Team requests science proposals for SHIELD seed funding and early career support.  The SHIELD NASA DRIVE Center ( is an international collaboration involving researchers from over half a dozen institutions, and led by Merav Opher from the Astronomy Department at Boston University.  

SHIELD’s goals are to:

(1) determine the global nature of the heliosphere;
(2) determine how pickup ions evolve from ‘cradle to grave’ and affect heliospheric processes;
(3) establish how the heliosphere interacts with and influences the LISM;
and (4) understand how cosmic rays are filtered by and transported through the heliosphere.

Seed Funding:

The seed funding will support ideas that, although related to the proposed SHIELD work, represent a departure because they are innovative, emergent, and possibly high-risk. A seed funding proposal should not be derivative of research already in the SHIELD strategic plan. The originality of this research needs to be clearly expressed in the seed funding proposal. These are envisioned as 1-year awards which, if successful, will be incorporated into SHIELD. However, a second year may be requested for completion of projects if justified and showing progress.

Submitted projects must

  • Be related to the SHIELD Proposal Plan 
  • Be high-risk, potentially high-impact, and transformative
  • Lead to cross-institutional collaborations between SHIELD partner institutions 

Priority will be given to projects with any of the following attributes:

  • The project has potential to receive subsequent new external funding
  • The project has high potential to lead to new collaborations.
  • The project could lead to substantial progress toward SHIELD’s goals

Early career funding:

This funding will support undergraduate and graduate students and postdocs working on SHIELD-related projects. These students and postdocs will be part of the SHIELD community and participate on research teams. Multi-year funding is possible for these awards.

Instructions for Submitting a Proposal

Proposals must include the following:

 – A document with the following sections: The science sections 2, 3, 4, and 5 are limited to a combined total of 4 pages.
  1. Project title, main investigators, and institutions
  2. Background and significance
  3. Project description and research goals
  4. Description of how this project furthers SHIELD’s goals
  5. List of anticipated outcomes/products to include an external proposal (you must identify the target funding agency or industry partner)
  6. For second year projects, progress to data and justification for additional funding.
  7. References
  8. Budget and budget justification
 – A one- to two-page resumé for each of the main investigators.
 – Institutional approval is not needed at this step.

Important questions for investigators submitting proposals:

 – Who can submit a proposal

This call is open to the heliospheric community. All submissions should be discussed with and endorsed by the local institutional SHIELD PI, PI Prof. Merav Opher at BU, and/or PM John Richardson at MIT. 

The proposals will be reviewed by the PI, PM, Directors and Deputy Directors of SHIELD.

 – What amount of funding is available? 

The total funding available is estimated to be $420,000 and it is anticipated that roughly six proposals will receive an award.

 – What is the period of performance of funded projects? 

Seed award activities are expected to be completed by January 31, 2026. Longer periods of support are possible for students and postdocs.

 – What types of costs can be included in the budget

Salaries of faculty, postdocs, and students, materials and supplies, and research-related travel costs. 

Please submit proposals by July 31, 2024 to Merav Opher at and John Richardson at .

The SHIELD Technical Proposal is available upon request.