NSF seeks ideas, interest and feedback on a new community and partnership platform for future NSF Regional Innovation Engines

NSF is laying the groundwork for a human-centered network of support structures and offerings that will significantly contribute to the success of NSF Engines awardees 

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is seeking community input to help develop, launch, and run a Builder Platform to support anticipated NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines), contributing to the success of a signature investment of NSF’s Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) directorate.  

The NSF Engines program supports the development of inclusive and 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. The Builder Platform will be a central component of this initiative, functioning as a human-centered network of support structures and offerings that will empower funded NSF Engines with the tools, skills, networks, and capital needed to thrive and attain success. NSF anticipates making a significant initial investment in the form of a three-year award to one or more organizations to jumpstart the Builder Platform effort. 

The Builder Platform and accompanying team will be responsible for providing the tailored support networks and services needed by and vital to the growth of individual NSF Engines. While the Builder Platform team may use technology to build communities and connect awardees, the Builder Platform goals and activities are much broader than developing a single technology solution. The Builder Platform aims to operate more like the leadership team of an incubator, accelerator or venture fund, offering a full suite of network connections and support structures to funded NSF Engines. The platform will have the ability to flex in several areas, working hands-on with awardees and connecting awardees to potential partners and talent critical to the NSF Engines’ success. 

NSF is especially interested in organizations with experience in:  

  • Early-stage entrepreneurial ecosystems;  

  • Startup and venture studios; 

  • State and local government economic development agencies;  

  • Tribal governments; and 

  • Community organizations. 

Of particular interest are organizations that have helped these entities build their networks, develop cross-sector partnerships, and quickly and sustainably scale.  

NSF is currently seeking feedback, ideas, and interest from the innovation community on the proposed Builder Platform model to help shape its vision and future growth. To express interest as a lead organization for the Builder Platform, NSF invites submission of a two-page Vision and Capability Statement by January 20, 2023. NSF also welcomes feedback about the Builder Platform without expressions of interest in leading the effort. Please review the Description section of the NSF Engines Builder Platform Market Intelligence for details on how to respond in these ways. 

NSF invites interested organizations to register to attend a webinar about the Builder Platform on Monday, December 19, 2022, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET 

To learn more about the Builder Platform effort, review the Builder Platform Statement of Objective (SOO)