In a memo issued in March 2013, NASA grant-awarded faculty were surprised to see Hawai’i classified with “foreign destinations” for the purposes of travel approval. Despite a correction issued a year later in March 2014, lower-level NASA officials continued to restrict approval, asserting to Hawai’i faculty that their travel monies were non-domestic. After hearing from concerned faculty, Senator Schatz wrote to NASA Administrators in an effort to bring awareness to the difficulties which state researchers frequently face; namely, that it can be challenging to overcome stereotypes about Hawai’i in efforts to maximize research opportunities in what happens to also be a popular tourist destination.
In a response dated August 18th, Chief Financial Officer, David Radzanowski clarified the proper procedures and identified points of contact who would be able to assist grantees in remedying the misconception. Now faculty should be able to acquire approval without undue burden. Mahalo Senator Schatz.