DEVELOP looks for participants that have a positive attitude, passion, and interest in Earth science and service to society. Successful participants are open-minded, interested in working with others, flexible, and eager to learn.
The DEVELOP experience is focused on both conducting and communicating an applied Earth science feasibility project. Participants should expect to spend their time engaged in literature review on the scope, methodologies, and types of NASA remote-sensing data applicable to their project. They will utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote-sensing data to conduct application projects. Teams will communicate with partner organizations that can benefit from the methodologies, results, and enhanced decision-making tools created by the team. A substantial amount of time is spent on the creation of professional deliverables, including a poster, presentation, technical report, and video, as the program puts an emphasis on building capacity to communicate project results to a variety of audiences. Participants also partake in personal development activities like personality typing, team building exercises, as well as networking with their team, advisors, and partner organizations.
There is no limit on the number of terms a participant can re-apply as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.
Participants are placed on interdisciplinary teams ranging in size from three to six participants. The team works under the guidance of a NASA or partner organization mentor and science advisor, DEVELOP management at their location, and the DEVELOP National Program Office. Meetings are scheduled between the teams and mentor(s) as needed, as well as with Fellows who support teams as they create their deliverables.
Participants conduct predetermined projects that fall within at least one of the following Applied Sciences Program application areas: Agriculture & Food Security, Disasters, Ecological Forecasting, Energy, Health & Air Quality, Urban Development, Transportation & Infrastructure, and Water Resources.
Participants must have and maintain a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) to apply. This GPA can be the cumulative and/or most recent semester.
DEVELOP accepts interdisciplinary participants with skills in many different areas and levels. Participants with a strong interest in Earth sciences, geography, environmental science, computer science, GIS, technology, environmental policy, remote sensing, and related social sciences are strongly encouraged to apply. No previous experience is required in these areas, just an eagerness and interest to learn.
DEVELOP is a unique opportunity and each participant benefits differently. Generally, participants can expect to enhance their personal and professional development. Participants are given the opportunity to improve their skill sets in science communication, technical writing, poster and oral presentation design, video creation, research, collaboration, technical capabilities, and networking, to name a few.
DEVELOP projects are conducted in 10 weeks. DEVELOP conducts three project terms per year – spring, summer, and fall. Each term lasts 10 weeks, with the spring term beginning in late January, summer term beginning in early June, and the fall term beginning in mid-September. All project deliverables are created within the 10-week timeframe.
You must be a US citizen (by birth or naturalization) to apply to a DEVELOP location at a NASA Center. Permanent Resident Alien (PRA) or Legal Resident are not considered a US citizen. However, international participants are eligible to apply to some select locations. Please refer to the Apply page for additional information.
DEVELOP participants are expected to commit 15-29 hours per week throughout the term. Scheduling is coordinated within office hours of the node and the participant's availability.
DEVELOP participants are expected to be present the full 10-weeks during a term. Participants not available the full 10-weeks may not be accepted due to the fast-paced nature of the program and project requirements.
Some universities may offer credit for projects with DEVELOP. Participants interested in receiving credit for the project will need to arrange this with their school to make sure the project meets requirements. Prior to the term beginning, participants interested in pursuing school credit can outline and communicate requirements to their Center Lead for consideration. It is the student's responsibility to meet deadlines and ensure all paperwork is completed to fulfill requirements.
DEVELOP offers both paid and volunteer opportunities. The majority of positions are paid; however, some locations will accept additional volunteers who are interested. For paid positions with DEVELOP, it is the participant's responsibility to ensure they are legally allowed to take compensation from Federal agencies at the same time as any other fellowships (if applicable).
DEVELOP participants are paid on an hourly basis. Rates are based upon your current level of education, applicant classification, and locality. If selected for an interview, you may ask your interviewer for your specific hourly rate, otherwise you can email the National Program Office stating your current education level, applicant classification, and location(s) to which you would apply for rate information.
In order to participate in DEVELOP, participants must be able to work onsite at an established DEVELOP location.
Participants are responsible for their own housing, living expenses, and transportation to and from the DEVELOP office. DEVELOP offers paid positions, which if selected for one, can help cover costs incurred.
These options in the online application expand the DEVELOP locations that may review your application. There is no assurance that other locations will review your application beyond your primary and potentially secondary location selections, but in situations where a DEVELOP office is looking for specific skillsets or has a smaller applicant pool, they will expand their review to include applications that have selected these options. By checking the regional review option, you open your application to potentially be viewed by regional locations beyond your primary and secondary preferred locations. By selecting the NASA center review option, you open your application to potentially be reviewed by NASA centers beyond your primary and secondary location selections. If you are flexible in which location you could participate in, this can in some cases increase your competitiveness.
Following the submission of your application, an automated email will be sent to your recommenders. As letters of recommendation are received, they are not instantaneously input into the system – they are uploaded in batches. You can check the status of your application by returning to the DEVELOP online application system and viewing your previously submitted application. Interviews are only scheduled after all applications have been received and reviewed. Due to the highly competitive nature of DEVELOP, not all candidates are selected for interviews. If selected for an interview, you will be contacted by email to schedule an interview. Interviews typically take place either by phone or video and last 30-45 minutes. When selections are made, applicants will be notified of their selection status by email. This is process is done on a rolling basis, so while a tentative timeline will be communicated to applicants it can vary.
Be patient. Letters of recommendation are uploaded in batches to the site. Because of the huge influx of letters within the two week period between the application deadline and the recommendation deadline, you can expect delays. In the meantime, check with your recommenders to ensure they submitted a letter on your behalf. Often, the automated email sent to recommenders gets sent to junk folders. If the recommender assures you they have submitted the letter and the system does not reflect the letters within two weeks of the letter of recommendation deadline (two weeks after the application deadline) you can email the National Program Office.
Yes, if you are interested in being considered for another term you must re-apply.

For questions regarding the application process, please refer to the online application FAQs. If you were not able to find the answer you were looking for, please, Contact Us. We'll do our best to help!