NSF Convergence Accelerator expansion engages the Midwest as the first region

May events in Minneapolis, Omaha and Chicago to stimulate innovation, workforce development and research acceleration

The U.S. National Science Foundation's Convergence Accelerator is kicking off its national program expansion with the Midwest Region.

Next month, NSF will host a series of regional expansion events in the Midwest Region. Interested stakeholders and organizations from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin are encouraged to register and attend one of three half-day, in-person events to be held in Minneapolis (May 16), Omaha (May 23) and Chicago (May 29).

These regional expansion events will offer attendees from academia, industry, nonprofits, government and other communities of practice the opportunity to learn how the program expansion — from a single national program to an integrated suite of 10 regionally-focused Convergence Accelerators — will enhance and promote national and regional competitiveness in research and innovation.

"The NSF Convergence Accelerator builds upon foundational research to accelerate use-inspired solutions to complex challenges that benefit from multidisciplinary perspectives," said Douglas Maughan, head of the NSF Convergence Accelerator. "These 10 regional Convergence Accelerators will accelerate use-inspired research and innovation by connecting researchers, practitioners and stakeholders from various sectors and domains, not only within and across each region, but all across the country as well. This network will harness the full geography of innovation throughout the U.S., increasing NSF's reach by engaging more researchers as well as NSF's impact by scaling the delivery of tangible solutions for all Americans."

Midwest Region | NSF Convergence Accelerator Regional Expansion Events
Regional expansion events will provide opportunities for attendees to learn more about: 

  • Program and expansion overview. Gain a comprehensive understanding of NSF, the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) and the NSF Convergence Accelerator. The NSF Convergence Accelerator team will explain the program's unique structure, which converges multiple disciplines, expertise and sectors to develop solutions that positively impact society and the economy.
  • Regional Anchor opportunity. Explore the pivotal role of a Regional Anchor, designed to execute the NSF Convergence Accelerator's program model at the regional level and ensure the overall experience is consistent with the national program. Learn more about how regional expansion will drive innovation and foster partnerships at the local level. 
  • Partnering opportunities. Discover how the NSF Convergence Accelerator will support and strengthen crosscutting partnerships toward addressing important regional and national challenges. Learn about the many opportunities to partner with academia, industry, nonprofits, government and other communities of practice within your region. 
  • Panel discussions. Engage with NSF Convergence Accelerator-funded teams in candid conversations. Hear from these members first-hand about their experiences with the program and the results and impact of their projects.  
  • Dynamic networking opportunities. Connect with other innovators, collaborators and thought leaders who have similar ideas on nurturing the innovation ecosystem. Understand the dynamics of regional impact and forge lasting partnerships. 

"The events in the Midwest are just the beginning of the NSF Convergence Accelerator expansion," said Shelby Smith, NSF Convergence Accelerator program expansion lead. "This expansion will allow the NSF Convergence Accelerator to fund teams from a more diverse and expansive range of sectors and expertise. In the five years since it was first established, the NSF Convergence Accelerator has made strides in helping convergent teams think differently about their research through innovation processes such as human-centered design, customer discovery, team science and communications, storytelling and pitching. We are excited to bring this model to each region to focus on complex societal and economic needs that are important to the area."

convergence accelerator map

Over the next three years, regional expansion events will take place, at least two per region, in each of the NSF Convergence Accelerator's 10 geographic regions. Additional events will be announced as locations are finalized, but are anticipated to take place in the Southeast Region in July 2024, Northeast Region in October 2024, Southwest Region in January 2025, Mid-Atlantic Region in summer 2025, South Central Region in fall 2025, Northwest Region in winter 2026, Central Region in summer 2026, Mountain Region in fall 2026 and West Region in winter 2027.

Register now for events in the Midwest Region. Space is limited, so stakeholders are encouraged to reserve their spots at one of these events.

Minneapolis | Millenium Hotel Minneapolis | May 16, 2024, 12 – 5 p.m. CST  

Omaha | DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Omaha Downtown | May 23, 2024, 12 – 5 p.m. CST  

Chicago | Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk | May 29, 2024, 12 – 5 p.m. CST 

For program expansion updates and future events, subscribe to the NSF Convergence Accelerator's GovDelivery email list and Eventbrite page.

About the NSF Convergence Accelerator

Launched in 2019, the NSF Convergence Accelerator—a TIP program—builds upon NSF’s investment in basic research and discovery to accelerate solutions toward societal and economic impact. The program’s multidisciplinary teams use convergence research fundamentals and innovation processes to stimulate innovative idea sharing and development of sustainable solutions. For more information about the program, visit new.nsf.gov/funding/initiatives/convergence-accelerator.

About TIP

TIP harnesses the nation’s vast and diverse talent pool to accelerate critical and emerging technologies and address pressing societal and economic challenges. The directorate comprises three primary focus areas: fostering innovation and technology ecosystems; establishing translation pathways; and partnering across sectors to improve U.S. competitiveness, grow the U.S. economy and engage and train a diverse workforce for future, high-wage jobs. For more information about TIP, visit new.nsf.gov/tip/latest.