Regional Innovation Engines

A unique program to grow and sustain regional innovation

Over the coming decade, the NSF Engines program — led by the NSF Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (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 program seeks to catalyze and foster 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.
  • Spur regional innovation and talent. 

With a potential NSF investment of nearly $1.6 billion over the next decade, NSF Engines represent one of the single largest broad investments in place-based research and development in the nation's history – uniquely placing science and technology leadership as the central driver for regional economic competitiveness.

Sethuraman Panchanathan
Director, U.S. National Science Foundation

On January 29, 2024, the U.S. National Science Foundation announced the first-ever NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) awards to 10 teams spanning universities, nonprofits, businesses and other organizations across the United States.

Each awardee team will receive an initial $15 million over the next two years with the potential to receive up to $160 million each over the next decade.

Beyond the 10 NSF Engines awards, a subset of the semifinalists and finalists were invited to pursue NSF Engines development awards, with each receiving up to $1 million to further develop their partnerships and model for a future NSF Engines proposal. They will join 44 existing awardees announced in early May 2023, bringing the total number of NSF Engines development awards to 58.  

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 research and development (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 (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.