NSF Innovation Corps Hubs Program (352019)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

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Deadline: Apr 25, 2024

Grant amount: US $6,000,000

Fields of work: Science Communications Emerging Technology Development Computer Science & Engineering Science

Applicant type: College / University

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, Research

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States


NOTE: All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks to further develop and nurture a national innovation ecosystem that guides the output of scientific discoveries closer to the development of technologies, products, processes, and services that benefit society.

The goal of the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, created in 2011, is to reduce the time and risk associated with translating promising ideas and technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace, to increase the economic competitiveness of the United States, to encourage collaboration between academia and industry, and to train NSF-funded faculty, students, post-docs, and other researchers in innovation and entrepreneurship skills.The I-Corps program utilizes experiential learning of customer and industry discovery, coupled with first-hand investigation of industrial problems and processes, to quickly assess the translational potential of inventions.

The I-Corps program is designed to support the commercialization of so-called "deep technologies," i.e., those based on fundamental discoveries in science and engineering. The I-Corps program addresses the skills and knowledge gaps associated with the transformation of promising basic research outcomes into deep technology ventures (DTVs). In the I-Corps program's initial phase, I-Corps Nodes and Sites were funded separately to serve as the backbone of the National Innovation Network (NIN). Previous solicitations for NSF I-Corps Nodes and NSF I-Corps Sites now have been archived. A solicitation for a new operational model, the I-Corps Hubs program, was introduced initially in 2020 and revised in 2022. The I-Corps Hubs model replaced the I-Corps Nodes and Sites.

This updated I-Corps Hubs solicitation has been informed by feedback received from the community and lessons learned since the start of the I-Corps Hubs program. In 2017, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA, Public Law 114-329, Sec. 601) formally authorized and directed the expansion of the NSF I-Corps program. Through this solicitation, NSF seeks to continue to evolve the current structure toward a more integrated operational model capable of sustained operation at the scope and scale required to support the expansion of the NSF I-Corps program as directed by AICA. In this more integrated model, I-Corps Hubs, comprising a Lead and initially seven Partner institutions, form the operational backbone of the NIN. Each Hub is funded through a single award, and the term "Hub" refers to a consortium of institutions identified in a proposal responding to this solicitation, including the Lead and Partner institutions.

The I-Corps Hubs program will support proposals from former Nodes and Sites (Track 1) and institutions new to I-Corps (Track 2).The I-Corps Hubs program seeks to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive innovation network across the country. In order to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive innovation network, strengthen research and education in the sciences and engineering throughout the United States, and avoid undue concentration of such research and education in one region or state, NSF encourages proposers to develop partnerships that cover geographic areas that have not been previously included in current NSF I-Corps Hubs awards (Hub Map). NSF especially encourages Hub proposals that are led by institutions in EPSCoR jurisdictions as per Section 10325 of CHIPS and Science (42 USC 19014).

Additional information can be found here.

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This page was last reviewed January 30, 2024 and last updated January 30, 2024