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May 28, 2024 | Tom Ballard

NSF funds program to connect emerging research institutions and industry innovators

The effort will be led by Halo, an AI-powered platform that helps corporate R&D teams more efficiently connect with scientific partners and bring innovations to market faster.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a new $1.2 million pilot effort designed to create new, diverse partnerships among emerging research institutions in U.S. higher education and industry innovators to accelerate breakthrough technologies to impact.

The 18-month effort will be led by Halo, an artificial intelligence-powered technology platform that helps corporate research and development (R&D) teams more efficiently connect with scientific partners and bring innovations to market faster. As part of the NSF-funded pilot, Halo will initially focus on matching industry researchers with academic scientists in materials science and engineering at emerging research institutions, or institutions of higher education that receive less than $50 million in federal research expenditures.

By democratizing access to industry partners among a broader set of institutions, NSF seeks to advance and commercialize a growing number of exciting early-stage innovations to address urgent challenges facing the country and the planet.

“Academic-industry partnerships fuel innovation in key technology areas, leading to more opportunities for the U.S. to be globally competitive,” said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF’s Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP). “To foster these partnerships and their impacts, it is imperative that researchers across a wide range of universities and companies connect with one another in ways that make it easy to surface challenge problems and identify areas of mutual interest.”

Since launching in 2020, nearly 8,000 academic scientists, 2,000 startups and 1,500 university administrators across 100 countries have created profiles on Halo describing their research interests. Of the more than 2,300 universities represented on the platform, more than 450 universities are U.S.-based.

“We created Halo to unite researchers from across the R&D spectrum to solve hard problems, bring innovations to the world and move science forward,” said Kevin Leland, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Halo. “Through our platform and with the support of NSF, we can connect industry with the full breadth and depth of the nation’s scientific talent, regardless of where they’re located or their existing relationships with industry.”


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