“Our economic and national security depends on our ability to significantly invest in the technologies of today and tomorrow … and quickly develop our domestic talent across every demographic and geographic background,” he said.
TIP is the foundation’s first new directorate in more than 30 years. Its focus is on “use-inspired research,” Gianchandani said, meaning technology that translates into people’s everyday lives, as well as developing workforces and seeding research coalitions.
He said the possibilities for collaboration aren’t just limited to the NSF’s recently announced semiconductor partnerships that will aid domestic microelectronics development. TIP will also be integral in facilitating artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum information science and next-generation communications.
The partnerships will fall under what the foundation calls “regional innovation engines.” The goal of the engines is to advance critical technologies, while making sure diverse stakeholders play a pivotal role in their success.
In order for partnerships to receive funding, he said, strategic plans will have to demonstrate diversity in not only the leadership teams, but in the distribution of funds among partners and the execution.
For educational settings, that will mean more inclusion for smaller schools.
“NSF Engines must engage the range of institution types in its region, including those dedicated to communities underserved in STEM, such as historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and Tribal colleges and universities, as well as two-year colleges, community colleges, vocational and technical colleges and others,” he said.
“NSF recognizes the need for capacity-building and technical assistance for certain organizations to fully engage and encourages proposals to incorporate such needs within their budgets and activities.”