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Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity




September 27, 2023



May 16, 2024





Award Floor:


Match Required?





Entity Types:

Public & State controlled institutions of higher education, Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)

*Who May Submit Proposals: Proposals may only be submitted by the following: -Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members.Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus. - The emphasis of this solicitation is to enable institutions, with limited or no research capacity, to create partnerships with external organizations to grow programs in workforce development, use-inspired research and development (RD), and/or the translation of research to practice in emerging technology fields.IHEs eligible to apply for funding under this solicitation are only those considered as neither R1 nor R2 institutions according to the 2021 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (;lt;a title="" href="" target="_blankgt;;lt;/a;gt;). Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), and two-year institutions (including community colleges and technical schools) that are not classified as R1 or R2 institutions are strongly encouraged to apply. Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs): MSIs include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), Tribal colleges or universities (TCUs), and other institutions that enroll a significant percentage of underrepresented minority students as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. These other institutions include Alaska Native-serving institutions, Native Hawaiian-serving institutions, Predominantly Black Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions, and Native American-serving non-tribal institutions. For more information, please see the U.S. Department of Education's definitions and lists of eligible postsecondary institutions (;lt;a title="" href="" target="_blankgt;Link to MSI definitions;lt;/a;gt;). *Who May Serve as PI: The PI must hold a full-time administrative or faculty position at the proposing institution. Part-time administrators, adjunct faculty, and temporary hires are not eligible to serve as PI. Preliminary proposals must identify up to three individuals from the submitting institution (including the PI) to participate in the EPIIC workshops, and at least one administrator is required to serve on this team. See Section II for details about the workshops. See Section V.A. for more details about the make-up of proposing teams.




Source Type:


The purpose of this solicitation is to broaden participation in innovation ecosystems that advance key technologies (e.g., advanced manufacturing, advanced wireless, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum information science, semiconductors, novel materials, and microelectronics) by supporting capacity-buildingefforts at institutions of higher education (IHEs) interested in growing external partnerships. Creation of this program is motivated by the commitment of the National Science Foundation (NSF), including the newly established NSF Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP), to accelerate scientific and technological innovation nationwide and empower all Americans to participate in the U.S. research and innovation enterprise. Establishing more inclusive innovation ecosystems will require broad networks of partners working together in support of use-inspired research; the translation of such research to practice or commercial application; and the development of a skilled workforce. The NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) program, housed within the TIP Directorate, seeks to growinclusive innovation ecosystemsaround the country. Growing such ecosystems will only be successful if all interested IHEs within a region are able to participate and contribute their unique set of skills and expertise. However, NSF appreciates many Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), and two-year institutions lack the infrastructure and resources needed to grow external partnerships and effectively contribute to innovation ecosystems, and thus are currently unable to effectively engage with the NSF Engines program. This solicitation aims to provide MSIs, PUIs, and two-year institutions with limited or no research capacity (see Section IV for details) with the support necessary to become equitable partners with teams competing under the current and subsequent NSF Engines program funding opportunities.Importantly, participation in this solicitation is not predicated on an existing partnership with organizations submitting an NSF Engines proposal.Rather, it is expected that the capacity-building efforts funded under this solicitation will provide significant innovation partnership opportunities irrespective of future participation in an NSF Engine.

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