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October 03, 2023 | Tom Ballard

NSF selects organization to develop builder platform for ‘NSF Engines’ program

The Engine Accelerator, a public benefit corporation with ties to MIT, was awarded the three-year contract.

The National Science Foundation has announced a three-year, $9.5 million investment in The Engine Accelerator, a public benefit corporation with origins at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Under the agreement, The Engine Accelerator will develop, launch and run the builder platform for the “NSF Regional Innovation Engines” program. The platform will provide tailored resources and a high level of personalized engagement and support that will significantly contribute to the success of the NSF Engines program.

In the announcement, NSF describes the builder platform as an entirely new way of thinking about post-award support – a human-centered portfolio of support structures that empowers awardees with the tools, networks and capital needed to thrive. It’s inspired and informed by the support systems pioneered by venture incubators and accelerators, national philanthropy and lessons learned from prior place-based investment efforts.

“From the day we established the NSF Engines program, NSF recognized the importance of providing hands-on support to our awardees to maximize their potential for success,” said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP). “The Engine Accelerator team brings deep expertise to help each of the NSF Engines Development awardees and future NSF Engines create inclusive and diverse regional coalitions that engage in use-inspired research, drive research results to the market and society, promote workforce development, and ultimately stimulate their regional economies, including creating new jobs.”

Earlier this year, NSF announced 44 NSF Engines Development Awards spanning universities, nonprofits, businesses and other organizations across 46 states and U.S. territories. One of those 44 is led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (see article here). Then in August, NSF announced 16 finalists for the full, “big bucks” NSF Engines competition.

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