A university recently received a NASA grant so quickly that the recipients, used to a long wait for money even after a grant had been approved, assumed a mistake had been made. Such a story has been making the rounds since NASA began to refurbish the procedure by which it issues grants, speeding up and streamlining the process in response to suggestions from space scientists.
One way NASA has measured success so far is how quickly it has cleared the decks of pending grants. The agency reduced the backlog from 572 grants on September 11 to zero by the end of the month, according to Don Bush, NASA's deputy assistant administrator for procurement. But that's just the beginning of changes Bush expects to be completed by March or April next year. The new procedures are first being tested out at headquarters, which issues over half of the agency's space science grants. NASA centers will also adopt the procedures after full approval.