Student R&D Program


NASA Academic Mission Services (NAMS) Student Research & Development (R&D) Program supports current and future research by encouraging students to continue their education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields to support NASA's Mission.

The NAMS contract, led by USRA, provides NASA Ames Research Center with capabilities to fulfill mission requirements from fundamental research and development through field-test deployments and operational science missions. 

The Student R&D Program supports the overall mission of NAMS. The key technology areas include: Aeronautics, Earth Science, Intelligent Systems and Bio-Sciences and the goal of the program is to advance the research being performed on the NAMS contract by identifying and providing students with research projects, which align with their education goals in STEM fields. 

The unique aspect of this program is for the student to work collectively with the NAMS PI and academic professor to ensure successful outcome of the project milestones and their educational thesis are met.

Internship Objectives

Internships are offered across technical disciplines of NAMS and closely tied to research and development aspects of the tasks. Student support is provided in a wide variety of ways, dependent on individual NAMS research task order objectives and student availability. The students’ education level can range from undergraduate to graduate degrees.  The period of performance ranges from 10-week session to longer periods up to two (2) calendar years.

The students can be local or temporarily located at the NASA site or work from their remote university.  

Student R&D Engagements

Student R&D internship opportunities are available in three general categories:

  • 1)  Onsite: Internship at the NASA Site
  • 2)  Virtual: Project-based engagement at a University Campus
  • 3)  Hybrid: Part-Time Internship at NASA Site and Part-Time at University Campus (e.g., project-based courses with university credit during the school year plus summer internship at NASA site)

For more information on Student R&D internship opportunities, please email Saba Hussain, USRA-NAMS Student R&D Program Manager.


Available Research Areas

There are a wide range of techncial research areas available for Student R&D internship opportunities. For a complete listing of the research areas, please download the Student R&D Program datasheet. Internship opportunities are available year-round and a listing of currently available internship opportunities is available on the Student R&D Internship Opportunities web page.

Student Research Highlights

NAMS research activities span the breadth of research conducted at NASA Ames. Some highlights of student research activities are listed below:

Student Spotlight - Chiara Ercolani

Student Spotlight - Vishwanath Bulusu


Student Research Videos

Student Spotlight Video - Antoine Tardy


Student Spotlight Video - Marc Leroy


Student Spotlight Video - Jeremy Coupe


November 1, 2018
USRA-NAMS Staff Receive Ames Contractor Council Award

University Space Research Association NAMS staff received excellence awards at the 2018 Ames Contractor Council Excellence Award Ceremony. The award recipients were acknowledged at the ceremony by Ames Center Director Dr. Eugene Tu and were nominated by Dr. David Bell, Director of RIACS and NAMS Chief Technologist. 

September 28, 2018
Dr. David Bell: A Keynote Speaker at the Quantum Summit

Dr. David Bell, Director, USRA Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science and Chief Technologist, NASA Academic Mission Services was a keynote speaker at the Quantum Summit held in San Francisco on September 19, 2018.


April 28, 2016
NASA awards USRA the NASA Academic Mission Services

USRA brings together a diverse national team of universities and experts to partner with NASA's Ames Research Center in order to solve problems related to Earth and space science, engineering, and aeronautics.

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