Regional Innovation Engines

The U.S. National Science Foundation’s Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines, program catalyzes and fosters innovation ecosystems across the United States to:  

  • Advance critical technologies like semiconductors, artificial intelligence, advanced wireless, and biotechnology;

  • Address pressing national and societal challenges;

  • Cultivate partnerships across industry, academia, government, nonprofits, civil society, and communities of practice; 

  • Promote and stimulate economic growth and job creation; and

  • Spur regional innovation and talent. 

NSF's Regional Innovation Engines Program

Each NSF Engine can receive up to $160 million to support the development of diverse regional coalitions of researchers, institutions, companies and civil society to conduct research and development that engages people in the process of creating solutions with economic and societal impactsThrough the process, NSF Engines will train and develop the local workforce and grow regional innovation ecosystems throughout the U.S. 

The NSF Engines program provides up to 10 years of funding to establish each NSF Engine, with the option to get two years of funding for planning before the official launch of an NSF Engine. 

Over the coming decade, the NSF Engines program – led by the NSF Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, or TIP – envisions supporting multiple flourishing regional innovation ecosystems across the U.S., spurring economic growth in regions that have not fully participated in the technology boom of the past few decades 

The NSF Engines program expects more groups to lead and participate in NSF Engines, including: 


A unique program to grow and sustain regional innovation:

Robust partnerships

Deep collaborations across a wide range of partners, including industry, academia, government, nonprofits, civil society and communities of practice.

Accountable leadership

Strong, CEO-led organization with accountability to a governance board, regional stakeholders and NSF.

Regional economic impact

Co-design and co-creation of R&D and translation activities with direct impact on the end users in the Engine’s region of service.

Culture of innovation

A nimble organization that engages in use-inspired R&D that adapts to changing societal and economic needs. 

Inclusion at all levels

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, or DEIA, are intentionally and meaningfully embedded at all levels in leadership, R&D, and workforce development activities.

Comprehensive workforce development

Workforce development initiatives to train and educate technicians, researchers, practitioners, and entrepreneurs to meet regional workforce needs.