NSF’s unique R&D effort aims to commercialize innovation

“To help solve the challenges around climate change effecting the oceans and around the cybersecurity of communications systems, the National Science Foundation is taking a unique approach.

Through its convergence accelerator, NSF isn’t just funding research, but bringing together a broad group of experts with a goal of commercializing the innovations that come from this R&D.

Dr. Doug Maughan, the office head for the National Science Foundation’s convergence accelerator, said the office’s goals with its latest funding opportunities are to accelerate research efforts so they have the biggest societal impact possible.

‘It requires a multidisciplinary team. This is the definition of the word convergence, which means multiple disciplines, multiple institutions and multiple types of institutions. So our expectation for someone responding to our solicitation is that they put together a team that includes industry, nonprofits, government, labs and academia. But it isn’t just a single discipline, and it isn’t just for a single institutional organization. So that’s a very different model than most are familiar with,’ Maughan said in an interview with Federal News Network. ‘Additionally, it’s really taking basic research and moving it down the innovation pipeline toward commercialization. If you look at a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), for example, SBIR is the business already exists. It’s also a single company. In our case, because we have multiple institutions, that’s also very different. One of the other things that we talk about is sustainability. That means by the time they finished the three years, they have a sustainable solution. They could actually create a startup. They could create a nonprofit. They could create a consortium. They could do an open source project. They could license the intellectual property. So the idea is there are multiple paths for sustainability.’…” Read the full article here.

Source: NSF’s unique R&D effort aims to solve societal challenges – By Jason Miller, May 7, 2021. Federal News Network.


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