NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), an agency-funded U.S. research consortium, have issued a joint research announcement seeking proposals for ground- and space-based investigations addressing a range of health and performance issues confronting astronauts assigned to future space exploration missions.

The “Research and Technology Development to Support Crew Health and Performance in Space Exploration Missions” solicitation addresses the broad study areas of cardiovascular and musculoskeletal alterations; human factors and performance; neurobehavioral and psychosocial factors; sensorimotor adaptation; smart medical systems and technology.

The two-step submission process—open to U.S. educational institutions, private companies and nonprofit organizations as well as other governmental agencies—includes a first-phase deadline of Sept. 4.

The deadline for screened proposals invited to compete further is Dec. 3.

Investigations outlined in the July 30 solicitation focus on the identification of biomarkers that track changes in cardiovascular performance before, during and following spaceflight; human performance metrics for robotic activities; ground as well as International Space Station investigations into the effects of nutrition and exercise on muscle and skeletal health; self-administered diagnostics and therapies for psychosocial issues including conflict resolution and individual response to common sleep aids and natural stimulants such as coffee; sensorimotor adaptation to changing gravitational forces; and the use of medical simulations to assess differences between physician and non-physician administered medical procedures.

The full solicitation is available at http://www.nsbri.org, under the funding opportunities menu, within the current announcements section.

Established by NASA in 1997 and funded at $24 million annually, the NSBRI is managed by representatives from a dozen of the nation’s top medical schools and research institutions. It is chartered to addresses physical and psychological issues confronting long-duration spaceflight, while seeking opportunities to introduce the benefits of this research to traditional health care.