What are the dates of the 2019 FDL research sprint?
The sprint is expected to take place over eight weeks from 24th June to 16th August, 2019 (final confirmation of these dates will come once participants have been selected).

Where does the research sprint take place?
We are running two concurrent research sprints this year. NASA FDL will take place in Mountain View, California, while FDL Europe will be in Oxford, UK.

When is the deadline for applications?
The applications deadline is 23:59 PST (GMT-8) on 31st March 2019. There is a possibility of an additional call for applicants if we need specific domain or subject specialists to match our challenge questions, but this is not guaranteed, so get your application in before the deadline!

What happens during the research sprint?
The FDL research sprint begins with a one week bootcamp to help everyone get up to speed on key concepts in AI and space research. If you are a data scientist, we’ll help you understand the basics of the space science and exploration field, and vice versa.

The next step is working in teams of four to get hands-on researching your challenge area and formulating solutions for your challenge question. The second half of the sprint is used for prototyping, testing and perfecting your solution, and getting ready to present it.

At the end of the research sprint, teams will present their work to leading scientists, researchers and industry experts from NASA, ESA and Silicon Valley.

What are the topics of the challenges for 2019?
You can find details of the mission areas we are looking at for NASA FDL in the research section of our website, or by visiting the site for our sister programme FDL Europe.

Can I apply to FDL if I’m a non-US/non-European citizen?
FDL is pleased to be able to welcome applications from researchers from around the world.

For the US sprint, applicants can be US citizens, lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) or foreign nationals eligible for a temporary student visa (e.g. J1 Visa).

To take part in the European sprint, applicants should either be European citizens, or be eligible for the relevant visa to stay in Europe for at least eight weeks.

Do I need to put my own research on hold?
During the research sprint, teams work intensively on their projects, and are expected to be present and active for the full duration. There may also be additional social activities and field trips so be prepared to be kept busy. However, we hope that the work you do during FDL will complement your research - either by providing a deep-dive introduction to emerging AI techniques to take back to your own investigations, or providing an opportunity to work shoulder-to-shoulder with world-class experts from the private sector, NASA and ESA.

Last year’s researchers all commented on the value of getting a fresh perspective and the strong relationships and friendships that were made.

Do I have to pay to attend FDL?
No! Actually researchers will receive a stipend, accommodation and transport on location, for the eight-week duration of the research sprint.

I’m not sure if I meet all the criteria, should I still apply?
Yes! We are looking for a diverse group of individuals, so we strongly encourage you to apply. That said, we expect to have many more applicants than available places, so bear in mind that FDL is primarily aimed at people currently undertaking PhD or postdoctoral research.