In 1989, NASA took the century-old idea of a land grant university and gave it a new spin for the 21st century, designating Space Grant colleges and universities around the country to help maintain America's preeminence in aerospace science and technology.
The goal of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program is to contribute to the nation's science enterprise by funding education, research, and informal education projects through a national network of university-based Space Grant consortia.
The University of Washington was one of the first Space Grant universities in the country. Currently, 52 independently governed consortia administer NASA Space Grant programs in research, education, and public service.
The objectives of the National Space Grant Program are to:
- Promote a strong science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education base from elementary through secondary levels while preparing teachers in these grade levels to become more effective at improving student academic outcomes.
- Establish and maintain a national network of universities with interests and capabilities in aeronautics, space and related fields.
- Encourage cooperative programs among universities, aerospace industry, and federal, state and local governments.
- Encourage interdisciplinary training, research and public service programs related to aerospace.
- Recruit and train U.S. citizens, especially women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities, for careers in aerospace science and technology.