New Starts | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 4 | p. 12
Issue Date: January 23, 2012

Cover Story

New Starts

NSF Programs Rolled Out Last Year Support Innovation
Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: Subra Suresh, NSF, innovation, SAVI, CREATIV, I-Corps, Career-Life Balance

In 2011, the National Science Foundation launched several agency-wide programs that drive U.S. innovation by supporting scientists, the research they do, and the early-stage transfer of their resulting work into the marketplace. These programs include the following:

Innovation Corps.I-Corps was rolled out on July 28, 2011, as a program to create a national innovation ecosystem by aiding scientists in exploring the commercial viability of their previously NSF-supported basic research. I-Corps projects are designed to have a quick turnaround time; the first 21 projects were announced in October.

The Career-Life Balance Initiative. Launched on Sept. 26, 2011, this 10-year plan aims to provide greater work-related flexibility for women and men in research careers to enable them to more easily care for dependents while continuing their careers. It targets postdoctoral fellows and early-career faculty members who receive grants from the agency.

Science Across Virtual Institutes.SAVI is designed to connect scientists from around the world with common interests and goals and leverage NSF investments to address important societal problems. On Oct. 10, 2011, the first three pilot projects were announced, representing a combined investment by NSF and SAVI partners of $100 million. The pilot projects are Wireless Innovation Between Finland & the U.S., the Virtual Institute for Mathematical & Statistical Sciences (involving the U.S. and India), and the Physics of Living Systems Student Research Network (involving the U.S., Brazil, France, Germany, Israel, Singapore, and the U.K.).

Creative Research Awards for Transformative Interdisciplinary Ventures.CREATIV, launched on Nov. 14, 2011, is a pilot grant mechanism to support high-risk, high-reward interdisciplinary research. The program provides up to $1 million in total funding over a maximum of five years to unusually creative interdisciplinary proposals that don’t fit into current NSF funding mechanisms.

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