NSF launches new $9.5 million opportunity to support NSF Engines

The Builder Platform will serve as a human-centered community of support structures, partners and offerings to supercharge the work of NSF Engines awardees. 

The U.S. National Science Foundation is seeking one or more organizations to develop, launch and run the Builder Platform to support the anticipated NSF Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines, awardees. The three-year Builder Platform contract will be a central component of the NSF Engines program, functioning as a human-centered network of support structures and offerings that will empower the NSF Engines with the tools, skills, networks and access to capital needed to thrive and attain success. 

The NSF Engines program fosters and develops diverse regional coalitions to advance technologies to address pressing national and societal challenges and create economic growth and new jobs in communities across the U.S. NSF anticipates funding its first NSF Engines awards in 2023.

The Builder Platform and its leadership team will develop ecosystems around and across NSF Engines locations, connecting awardees with each other and a creating curated entry points for corporations, philanthropists, investors and other constituents who want to work with NSF Engines. While the platform team may use technology to build communities and connect awardees, the goals and activities are much broader than just developing a technology solution.

"To grow and succeed, regional innovation ecosystems require intentional and customizable support," said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF assistant director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. "NSF's investment in the Builder Platform will ensure that each NSF Engine is able to get what it needs, when it needs it, providing structured support for diverse talent, multifaceted technologies and inclusive regional ecosystems for years to come."

­­The team running the platform will be responsible for providing the tailored support networks and offerings needed by and vital to the growth of individual NSF Engines. The platform team will have the ability to flex in several areas, working hands-on with awardees and connecting awardees to potential cross-sector partners and talent critical to their success. 

NSF is especially interested in organizations with experience in supporting/partnering with:  

  • Early-stage entrepreneurial ecosystems.  
  • Startup and venture studios. 
  • State, local and tribal governments or economic development and workforce development agencies.  
  • Organizations focused on translating cutting edge, use-inspired research.
  • Community-based organizations.

Organizations that have helped entities, such as those listed above, to build their networks, develop cross-sector partnerships, and quickly and sustainably scale are encouraged to apply.

To apply, NSF invites submission of an application and supporting documents by June 12, 2023. To learn more about the Builder Platform effort, review the Builder Platform Solutions Offering