The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)announcedNSF开幕式区域创新引擎计划上周颁奖典礼，为美国各地的社区提供了前所未有的机会。该开发奖（也称为1型奖项）旨在为更大的创新生态系统创造肥沃的土壤。每个团队将在两年内获得高达100万美元的收入，并有机会在这两年结束时申请成为2型发动机。2型发动机可以在十年内获得高达1.6亿美元的收入。超过46个州和领土被代表，发动机正在所有主要关键技术领域进行创新，其中包括：
- 10 proposals contributing to Semiconductor and High-Powered Computing (HPC) technologies
- 5 proposals related to Quantum Information Science and Engineering (QISE)
With the potential to transform the nation’s competitiveness, the NSF Engines program paves the way for future innovation and growth following the vision of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. While the bipartisancluster-building approachof the Engines program is similar to last year’s恢复更好的区域挑战and the newly announcedTech Hubsprogram, there are some key differences. First, the scope of the preliminary awards is much smaller. Second, the focus is on seeding ecosystems that have potential, rather than investing in ecosystems that have already demonstrated unique competitive outcomes. Third, this program specifically focuses its attention on groups new to government funding and on geographically and socially/economically diverse groups.
Congratulations!! Your hard work has paid off! This should be the first step on a journey towards growing an innovation ecosystem that will reshape the trajectory of your economic growth and set up emerging, globally competitive industries. This, however, is no time to rest on your laurels–in fact, preparation for your future Type 2 application starts today. Here are three things you can do to ensure your plan has a better chance of turning into reality:
Celebrate and acknowledge the achievement
这是一项重大成就，您的社区应该为此感到自豪！花点时间庆祝团队的辛勤工作和奉献精神。与您的组织，合作伙伴和社区分享新闻，传播热情并产生积极的动力。将其发布在LinkedIn上！发行新闻稿！举行发布会！在工作永无止境的领域中，我们很少需要时间来庆祝成功 - 这是一个暂停并承认您的合作伙伴和合作者组成这个联盟所做的工作的绝佳机会！这也是使您更广泛的社区对即将到来的工作感到兴奋的好方法。
The NSF Engines program emphasizes the power of collaboration and partnerships. Capitalize on your momentum by actively engaging with regional partners, including other research institutions, workforce groups, capital providers, government officials, corporate partners and entrepreneurs. If your Engines coalition leaves out any of the elements illustrated in the diagram below, one of the best ways you can prepare for the challenging work ahead is to broaden your inner circle. By leveraging diverse expertise and resources, you can create an ecosystem that amplifies the impact of your NSF Engine award–turning this from a proposal to build research capacity into a full-ecosystem approach.
Type 1 awards are led, for the most part, by universities or non-profits close to the research bench. Some of them incorporate partnerships with local workforce development groups or government engagement, but not all of them. For a development award to grow into a fully-fledged innovation ecosystem, you’ve got to work on building out the connective tissue between the stakeholders that you have yet to engage.
创新的一个方面的NSF引擎program lies in just how much information is available about other awardees and the work they propose. Spend some time reviewing the plans your peers have made, and consider what great ideas might inspire your future work. Reflect, outside of the pressure of an application timeline: What aspects of work did you forget to include? Where might you need to make bigger investments to realize your coalition’s potential? Are there competencies or skills that are missing in your leadership team? In short–where do you still need help? A robust network of partners who have been engaged in ecosystem building across different industries and communities are competing right now for the opportunity to help you, as a part of the Engines Builder Platform. Spending some time in reflection now can help you prepare to tap into these resources as soon as they are available–saving time, and ensuring you put your award to its best uses.
Secure your matching commitments
如果你已经开始与资助者community, now is a great time to schedule a conversation about what the work looks like moving forward. If you were able to raise matching funds or gather organizational commitments in support of your work, circle back to make sure that those commitments still stand. A little bit of perseverance in the face of adversity can do wonders in helping supportive partners feel a sense of confidence in your work–with or without federal funds.
Rally the troops
Your partners might be discouraged today, but the only thing that has changed in what you proposed is a little bit of federal money. Think of all of the political barriers you moved out of the way, the relationships you built, and the plans you clarified! Your community’s needs and your country’s needs have not changed in the last week. Now is a great time to remind partners of what is at stake–and encourage their continued engagement.
It might be tempting to look at the work that your community did to support this application and simply find and replace “Engines” with “Tech Hubs.” There’s nothing legally preventing you from doing this, but such an approach is unlikely to be successful. The expectations, activities, and qualifications are fundamentally different between the Engines and Tech Hubs programs. Engines were meant to propose a “from scratch” solution, while the Tech Hubs program is looking for a recipe ready for your next big family BBQ. While your coalition relationships might help you prepare for the next application, you’ll need to think differently about your ecosystem’s strengths and weaknesses to be successful–not just slap a new title on your old word document.
无论您是否赢得了NSF Engine 1型奖项，您的辛勤工作和对社区的努力都将受到赞扬。仅在此规模上进行应用程序需要大量的时间，专业知识和合作伙伴关系。拥抱这种变革性的旅程，并释放您所在地区的创新力量。
这只是建立您的区域创新生态系统的众多机会之一。实际上，今天宣布了另一个建立社区的绝佳机会Tech Hubs NOFO。尽管下一个机会的工作本质在主题上是相似的，但应用程序的应用却大不相同。结果，赢得这笔引擎赠款并不能保证您使用技术枢纽，并且失去了与您的技术中心前景没有任何关系。无论您的工作是本周资助的，还是将来还需要资助，此类公告不应被视为终点线或停车标志。对于所有试图为自己和国家建立更好的经济未来的社区来说，还有更多的工作和更多的可能性。
There are exciting things ahead for communities that participated in the NSF Engines grant program, even for those that missed out on securing funding.
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