The Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, TIP, advances use-inspired and translational research in all fields of science and engineering, giving rise to new industries and engaging all Americans — regardless of background or location — in the pursuit of new, high-wage jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, TIP, harnesses the nation's vast and diverse talent pool to advance critical and emerging technologies, address pressing societal and economic challenges, and accelerate the translation of research results from lab to market and society. TIP improves U.S. competitiveness, growing the U.S. economy and training a diverse workforce for future, high-wage jobs.
Fostering innovation and technology ecosystems
TIP brings together teams of researchers, practitioners and users to shape research directions, catalyze iterative co-design and co-creation, develop game-changing technologies and solutions to address the nation's societal and economic challenges, and grow the future workforce. TIP's impact is embodied in its dynamic programs, including TIP's Convergence Accelerator and new programs to be announced in the coming months:
Builds upon NSF's investment in basic research and discovery to accelerate solutions toward societal and economic impact. Convergence Accelerator multidisciplinary teams use convergence research fundamentals and innovation processes to stimulate innovative idea sharing and development of sustainable solutions.
Regional Innovation Engines
Bolsters innovation ecosystems across the U.S. The Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines, program supports the development of diverse, regional coalitions to engage in use-inspired research, drive research results to the market and society, promote workforce development, and ultimately stimulate the economy and create new jobs.
NSF’s Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies (ExLENT) program expands practical learning opportunities for individuals interested in entering or gaining more experience in emerging and novel technology areas.
NSF's Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity (EPIIC) program provides institutions with training and networking support to develop the capacity and institutional knowledge needed to help build more inclusive ecosystems and enable participation in regional innovation ecosystems, potentially connecting to NSF Engines.
The Responsible Design, Development and Deployment of Technologies (ReDDDoT) program aims to help create technologies that promote the public's wellbeing and mitigate potential harms.
Accelerating research to impact
TIP accelerates breakthroughs in critical and emerging technologies — such as advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, advanced wireless, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum information science, and semiconductors and microelectronics — to grow long-term U.S. competitiveness. TIP provides an infusion of co-funding to existing NSF programs, led by other directorates, focusing on use-inspired, solution-oriented research in key technology areas, such as the National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes and Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes, allowing these to scale toward significantly more impactful levels and further harness the geography of innovation across the U.S.
The Accelerating Research Translation program will support academic institutions to speed and scale their translational research activities to deliver impactful products, services, and solutions.
The Building the Prototype Open Knowledge Network program will build a prototype version of an integrated public data and knowledge framework.
The Assessing and Predicting Technology Outcomes program will fund research to evaluate the effectiveness of research and development investments and the creation of models that accurately describe past and future technology outcomes.
Establishing translation pathways
TIP accelerates the translation of research results to practical use through its Lab-to-Market Platform. Programs within the directorate provide pathways for researchers, startups, small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to move their ideas from the lab to society while gaining access to a range of NSF resources. TIP's highly integrated programs support new pathways for translating research results to society as well, including new, open-source ecosystems, government services or at-scale educational innovations.
Partnerships for Innovation
Provides NSF-funded researchers the opportunity to increase the impact of their discoveries. Partnerships For Innovation, or PFI, teaches researchers how to develop and implement a technology roadmap, create a business model, and develop their technology into a prototype or proof of concept.
Innovation Corps (I-Corps™)
Provides experiential entrepreneurial education to further the nation's innovation ecosystem. I-Corps connects the technological, entrepreneurial and business communities — addressing skill and knowledge gaps to reduce the time it takes to bring technologies from the lab to the marketplace.
Invests in hundreds of early-stage startups annually, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. America's Seed Fund, powered by NSF, supports startups and small businesses working across almost all areas of science and technology. Each company can receive up to $2 million to support research and development.
Over two years, each Activate Fellow supported by NSF will receive training and at least $350,000 in direct support, plus access to specialized research facilities and equipment. These Entrepreneurial Fellowships are made possible by NSF funding to Activate.org, a nonprofit organization.
Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems
Offers researchers a novel pathway for translational impact. Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems, or POSE, fosters open-source communities and models — from software systems and data systems to climate modeling and CRISPR — to create products and artifacts that help to solve societal and economic challenges.
Build privacy-preserving artificial intelligence solutions to tackle financial crime and improve pandemic responses by competing in the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Prize Challenge.
VITAL Prize Challenge
Develop innovative learning technologies for K-12 students by competing in the Visionary Interdisciplinary Teams Advancing Learning, or VITAL, Prize Challenge.
Partnering to engage the nation's diverse talent
STEM talent is much more distributed across sectors, prompting the need for unique new partnerships that blend together expertise and resources. TIP ignites partnerships among academia, industry, government, nonprofits, civil society and communities of practice to cultivate regional innovation ecosystems, create technology solutions, support future STEM leaders who reflect the rich cultural and geographic diversity of the country, and ultimately advance our nation's economy and competitiveness.
Workforce Development RFI (NSF23-100) Responses
NSF requested input on ways to make educational pathways into careers in key technologies accessible to any American interested in participating in the U.S. research and innovation enterprise through the Future Topics for Workforce Development in Emerging Technology Career Pathways Request for Information (RFI).