New funding opportunity seeks to invest in additional NSF Regional Innovation Engines

U.S. National Science Foundation | Regional Innovation Engines

Pending congressional appropriations, the NSF Engines program aims to add additional regions to the 10 inaugural awardees announced earlier this year, expanding innovation potential across the U.S.

The U.S. National Science Foundation announced a funding opportunity to invest in a new set of NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) across the U.S. In January, NSF announced the 10 inaugural NSF Engines, and the latest opportunity looks to build upon that investment, pending congressional appropriations. 

The initial NSF Engines announcement represented 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. This latest funding opportunity advances the bipartisan priorities outlined in the "CHIPS and Science Act of 2022," which authorized the NSF Engines program. 

"This latest NSF Engines funding opportunity represents more forward momentum in establishing a network of flourishing regional technology- and innovation-driven leaders of economic activity throughout the U.S.," said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF assistant director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP). "As we have begun to see with the 10 inaugural NSF Engines announced earlier this year, the NSF Engines program is generating robust partnerships rooted in scientific and technological innovation. We are proud to see that our initial investment has already unlocked more than twice as much in matching commitments from public and private funders."

What's new for this competition?

In this round of funding, the NSF Engines program is only accepting proposals for full NSF Engines, competing for up to $160 million over 10 years. Proposers will be asked to submit a letter of intent in place of a concept outline and a short preliminary proposal. 

New to this round of funding, tribal nations and state and local government agencies are eligible to submit a proposal as the lead organization. 

NSF does not require that proposers have an NSF Engines Development Award nor previous support from NSF or other federal agencies. Any organization that meets the eligibility requirements specified in the funding opportunity may apply. 

Proposals must be submitted via Letters of intent are due by June 18, 2024.

"NSF is eager to identify and invest in cross-sector regional consortia spanning state and local governments, tribal nations, other federal agencies, academia, philanthropy and private industry to expand the frontiers of technology and innovation and spur economic growth across the nation," said Thyaga Nandagopal, division director for the Division of Innovation and Technology Ecosystems within the TIP Directorate, which leads the NSF Engines program. "The program welcomes proposals from all corners of our country, particularly from regions that have not fully participated in the technology boom of the past few decades."

Launched in May 2022, NSF Engines sought to transparently publish data about the previous competition to encourage collaboration. In this round of funding, NSF expects to again publish data received from submitters throughout the proposal and review stages, including information about organizations, regions of service and topic areas. These new and continuing efforts in transparency highlight NSF's commitment to maximizing the vitality of each NSF Engine, connecting an NSF Engine to the resources and partnerships needed to increase its likelihood of long-term success. 

More information can be found on the NSF Engines program website.

Register for the 2024 NSF Engines Funding Opportunity Webinar on Thursday, April 25, 2024, at 2 p.m. ET.