May 13, 2024

Applying to the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium for Undergraduate, Graduate Students and Faculty

Overview:  Funding that is limited only to students and faculty in South Carolina is provided through the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium.  The follow post highlights some opportunities for students and was composed by a two time recipient of these funds- Arianna Csiszer.  
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Contributor: Arianna Csiszer 


Finding the right grants to support your research can be difficult! In this blog post, we'll explore several grant opportunities offered through the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium. SCSGC is part of a national network of consortia established in 1989 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)


I applied for and received a STEM Outreach award because I recognized I was not participating in outreach to the extent I thought I should, given how outreach events have shaped how I view research and encouraged my engagement in STEM. Getting involved in NASA was exciting. Among the eight activities I was required to plan I emphasized parts of NASA and SCSGC that others may not know about. In my application for the grant I wrote about my own experiences benefiting from STEM outreach events and my lifelong interest in NASA, as well as about how I would be seeking out help from others experienced in creating outreach programs. Thus I built my application on both technical details and passion and gratitude.



Through its awards, which are administered under six different programs, SCSGC encourages research, outreach, and increase engagement and awareness of STEM education. Every U.S. state as well as Puerto Rico and Washington DC have a Space Grant Consortium [1] that provides NASA funds to research, outreach projects, and projects that are otherwise beneficial to the interests of NASA and the local government [2]. 


The SCSGC provides a range of support for researchers, including grants, fellowships, internships, and outreach programs. Their overarching goals involve fostering NASA-aligned research and addressing the unique needs of South Carolina.  The consortium aims not only to provide financial support but also to enhance engagement and scientific literacy in all communities, including minorities and women with an interest in STEM. Researchers aligning with the consortium's objectives find a supportive community dedicated to advancing space-related research.[3] The descriptions below outline the programs, some of which are confined to students at particular levels (undergraduate/graduate). 


 Undergraduate Research Awards provide a stipend amount of $7,500*, for undergraduate students working under the direction of an advisor on a STEM project for at least 400 hours, either over an academic year or a summer.  The SC Space Grant office provides assistance as needed for students seeking research mentors for projects for which they plan to apply for an undergraduate research award. Find out more here.


Graduate Research Fellowships provide up to $32,000* in an amount jointly funded by the consortium and the research institution to which the student is affiliated. Students must perform 400 hours of research on the project over the course of a year, starting in May or August. Find out more here.


Technical College Research Awards promote STEM engagement for students enrolled in 2-year institutions . Recipients receive a $4,000* stipend, and the project can be performed over a summer term or an academic year. The SC Space Grant office provides assistance as needed for students seeking research mentors for projects for which they plan to apply for a technical college research award. Find out more here.


Minorites in STEM Awards have the same conditions as undergraduate research awards but are set aside for students from groups that are underrepresented in STEM fields. Find out more here.


STEM Outreach Awards encourage STEM outreach and engagement. Graduate or undergraduate students are eligible for awards of $6,000* for which they must host eight outreach events/activities.  Most recipients to date have been graduate students. Find out more here.


Palmetto Academy Research projects are 10-week immersive STEM research programs provided at Palmetto Academy sites around the state every summer. Participants receive an $8,000* stipend, of which they must spend at least $500 on housing. While a large percentage of participants are undergraduates, graduate students can apply.  Find out more here.   (Please note that stipend amounts may change year to year with changes in funding or inflation.)


Through these programs, the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium stands as a beacon for researchers, offering not just financial aid but also a platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange. If you're ready to elevate your research aspirations, the SCSGC is a valuable ally on your journey.


Acknowledgements:  This blog post was made possible funding from the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium through the 2023-2024 NASA South Carolina Space Grant Consortium STEM Outreach Award.



Contributor Bio: Arianna Csiszer is a bioengineering doctoral student at Clemson University. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Clemson in May 2022 and transitioned to graduate school to pursue her passion for research.   To transition into graduate school, she cultivated a network of mentors since few people in her family had an advanced degree in engineering.  She hopes to share experiences to help other people who are first generation graduate students and encourage them pursue things outside of their comfort zones.




[1] - accessed February 15, 2024


[2] accessed February 15, 2024

[3] - accessed February 15