Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
December 12, 2022 | Tom Ballard

NSF announces two new solicitations related to its Regional Innovation Engines program

The National Science Foundation is working to support regional innovation in two new ways.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced two new solicitations, both related to its Regional Innovation Engines program which is focused on catalyzing and fostering innovation ecosystems across the U.S.

  • “Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity” (EPIIC) is a new $20 million program encouraging minority-serving institutions, two-year institutions, primarily undergraduate institutions, and other emerging research institutions to participate in regional innovation ecosystems. The program will provide training and networking support to help build more inclusive ecosystems. Up to $400,000 will be provided over three years to develop the capacity and institutional knowledge needed to build new partnerships and secure future external funding, enabling awardees to tap into their regional innovation ecosystems and potentially into an NSF Engine. More information about the program can be found here, and NSF will also hold a webinar at 3 p.m. EST January 13. To register, click here.
  • The agency is also seeking to identify one or more organizations to help develop, launch, and run the Builder Platform that would support future NSF Regional Engines. As defined in its announcement, the Builder Platform “will be a human-centered network of support structures and offerings that empower NSF Engines awardees with the tools, skills, networks, and capital needed to thrive and be successful. 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 to NSF Engine awardees. The platform will have the ability to flex in several areas, working hands-on with awardees and connecting awardees to potential partners and talent they’ll need to be successful. NSF is especially interested in organizations with experience in: (1) early stage entrepreneurial ecosystems; (2) start-up and venture studios; (3) state and local government economic development agencies; (4) tribal governments; and (5) community organizations. 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.” More information can be found here, and NSF has scheduled a webinar beginning at 3 p.m. EST December 19. To register, click here.