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Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC)

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NSF 24-534

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.

Supports planning and implementation of community-university partnerships for significant near-term impacts in one of two focus areas: building climate-resilient communities and bridging the gap between essential resources and services and community needs.

A research and action competition driven by community priorities

Supports planning and implementation of community-university partnerships for significant near-term impacts in one of two focus areas: building climate-resilient communities and bridging the gap between essential resources and services and community needs.


The Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC) is a research and action competition that accelerates the transition to practice of foundational research and emerging technologies into communities through civic-engaged research. By addressing priorities at the local scale that are relevant across the US, CIVIC is laying the foundation for a broader and more fluid exchange of research and technology capabilities and civic priorities through joint partnerships involving civic partners and the research community. CIVIC funds projects that pilot state-of-the-art solutions to community challenges over 12 months, following a six-month planning phase, and have the potential for lasting impact in the partnering community as well as the potential to be scaled and implemented in other communities. Additionally, the foundation for CIVIC projects should be rooted in maturing and transitioning state-of-the-art research in disciplines, including but not limited to computer science, engineering, geosciences, biological sciences, and social sciences.

CIVIC is uniquely designed to enable transition to practice of innovations into communities, as follows: (1) CIVIC flips the community-university dynamic, by empowering communities and researchers to jointly identify civic priorities ripe for innovation and to address these priorities as equal partners; (2) CIVIC focuses on research-centered solutions that are ready for piloting in and with communities on a short timescale, where real-world outcomes can be evaluated within 12 months; (3) CIVIC requires a coalition of communities and civic partners and a multi-disciplinary set of researchers to co-create and execute pilot projects; and (4) CIVIC organizes and fosters nationwide “communities of practice” around high-need problem areas that allow for meaningful knowledge sharing and cross-site collaboration during both the pre-development and piloting stages.

For this solicitation, civic partnership and engagement activities, communities, and academic and civic partners must be based in the United States or its protectorates. For purposes of clarity, civic partners may include local, state, or tribal government officials; non-profit representatives; community organizers or advocates; community service providers; and/or others working to improve their communities.

CIVIC is organized as a two-stage competition with two tracks centered around the following topic areas:

  • Track A. Climate and Environmental Instability - Building Resilient Communities through Co-Design, Adaption, and Mitigation
  • Track B. Bridging the gap between essential resources and services & community needs.

In Stage 1, approximately 35-40 Planning Grant awards will be made – each with a budget of up to $75,000 for six months to undertake planning and team development activities. These include solidifying the team, maturing the project plans, and preparing a well-developed full proposal for submission to Stage 2. Only Stage 1 CIVIC recipients can submit to the CIVIC Stage 2 competition.

In Stage 2, approximately 20 Full Awards will be made. These will be selected from Stage 1 award recipients. For Stage 2, proposals will be considered with budgets up to $1,000,000 for up to 12 months. Proposals must describe how the PIs will execute and evaluate their research-centered pilot projects.

Throughout both stages, NSF award recipient (2223449) MetroLab Network (metrolabnetwork.org, nsfcivicinnovation.org) will foster “communities of practice” through in-person and virtual activities, aimed at enhancing the teams’ capacity-building, networking, impact, and ability to create methods and solutions transferable to other communities.

The CIVIC research and action competition is jointly supported by NSF’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE); Directorate for Engineering (ENG); Directorate for Geosciences (GEO); Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE); Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO); and the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Program contacts

David Corman
Program Director, CISE/CNS
dcorman@nsf.gov (703) 292-8754 CISE/CNS
Vishal Sharma
Program Director, CISE/CNS
vsharma@nsf.gov (703) 292-8950 CISE/CNS
Ralph Wachter
Program Director, CISE/CNS
rwachter@nsf.gov (703) 292-8950 CISE/CNS
Linda Bushnell
Program Director, CISE/CNS
lbushnel@nsf.gov (703) 292-8950
Daan Liang
Program Director, ENG/CMMI
dliang@nsf.gov (703) 292-2441 ENG/CMMI
Siqian Shen
Program Director, ENG/CMMI
siqshen@nsf.gov (703) 292-7048 ENG/CMMI
Barbara Ransom
Program Director, GEO/RISE
bransom@nsf.gov (703) 292-7792 GEO/RISE
Sara Kiesler
Program Director, SBE/SES
skiesler@nsf.gov (703) 292-8643
Christopher Balakrishnan
Program Director, BIO/DEB
cbalakri@nsf.gov (703) 292-2331 BIO/DEB
Kirsten Schwarz
Program Director, BIO/DEB
kschwarz@nsf.gov (703) 292-2416 BIO/DEB

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