Funding Opportunity: NSF Convergence Accelerator Phase I and II for the 2021 Cohort

The National Science Foundation's Convergence Accelerator is speeding research and discovery into practice by announcing a new funding opportunity, NSF Convergence Accelerator Phase I and II for the 2021 Cohort, featuring two research track topics—the Networked Blue Economy and Trust & Authenticity in Communication Systems.

Although different, both tracks require funded teams to accelerate ideas into solutions and at a rapid pace. During phase one, a nine-month planning effort, selected teams are to participate in the program's innovation curriculum designed to strengthen each team's convergence approach and to further develop the solution concept toward phase two.

"The Convergence Accelerator's curriculum, consisting of human-centered design; user discovery; team science; early-stage prototyping; and pitch preparation is designed to provide our funded teams the tools to transition their solutions into practice," said Douglas Maughan, office head of the NSF Convergence Accelerator program. Phase one teams are expected to apply the curriculum; as well as focus on cross-cutting partnerships as most national-scale challenges cannot be solved with a single discipline and expertise."

At the end of phase one, the 2021 cohort teams will participate in a pitch competition event. The oral pitch and formal proposal will be used in selecting teams for phase two. Selected teams will advance to phase two to further develop the solution from concept to prototype, and beyond; and to build a sustainability model to continue impact beyond NSF support.

"The Convergence Accelerator is a relatively new NSF program, but our unique program model is focused on delivering tangible solutions that have a positive nation-wide societal impact," said Maughan. "We encourage researchers and innovators from academia, industry, non-profit, government, and others to submit a proposal."

Solicitation Details

Research Tracks

Networked Blue Economy (Track E)

Ocean-related industries and resources continue to play a central role in addressing challenges related to climate, sustainability, food, energy, pollution, and the economy. The overarching track goal is to interconnect the Blue Economy and accelerate convergence across ocean sectors; creating a smart, integrated, connected, and open ecosystem for ocean innovation, exploration, and sustainable utilization. Collectively, funded research teams will produce innovative tools, techniques, methods, and educational resources, as well as produce solutions that improve human engagement with oceans as both an environment and resource.

Trust & Authenticity in Communications Systems (Track F)

Modern life is dependent on access to communications systems that offer trustworthy and accurate information. Economic growth and opportunity depend on dynamic innovation and transaction networks to connect American families, communities, and businesses to a range of goods and services to improve the quality of life. Yet, these systems face a common threat; communication systems can be manipulated or can have unanticipated negative effects. The overarching track goal is to address the urgent need for tools and techniques to help our nation effectively prevent, mitigate, and adapt to critical threats to communication systems. 

Who can Apply:

Submitters from academia, industry, government, non-profit, and other organizations are encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent (required) and full proposal.  

Funding Opportunity:

Solicitation Key Dates:

Letter of Intent: May 5, 2021 (required)
Full Proposal: June 14, 2021