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Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)

The Directorate for Engineering's Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) supports programs to accelerate NSF-funded and federally-funded fundamental research into market opportunities, and fosters public-private partnerships to advance technological innovation. IIP invests in high-tech small businesses and collaborations between academia and industry to transform discoveries into innovative commercial technologies with societal benefits.

  • The Innovation Corps Program (I-Corps), an NSF-wide entrepreneurial education program, equips scientists with the tools needed to transform discoveries with commercial realization potential into innovative technologies.

  • Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) perform cutting-edge industry-led pre-competitive fundamental research in science, engineering, technology area(s) of interest to industry that can drive innovation and the U.S. economy.

  • Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity enables graduate students already supported on an NSF grant to pursue internship and training opportunities outside of academia and augment their research assistantships with non-academic activities that will help them acquire professional development experience relevant to multiple career pathways.

  • Partnerships for Innovation offers researchers the opportunity to transform new knowledge into societal benefits through both translational research and technology development efforts that catalyze partnerships to foster innovation. The PFI program offers two broad tracks for proposals:
    • Technology Translation (PFI-TT) offers an NSF-funded researcher the opportunity to advance his or her prior NSF-funded research results toward commercialization by supporting the development of a proof-of-concept, prototype, or technology development and scale-up. The effort should also expose faculty and students in innovation and entrepreneurially-focused activities that could possibly lead to partnership opportunities, the creation of new intellectual property and technologically-driven commercialization outcomes that address societal needs.
    • Research Partnerships (PFI-RP) catalyzes robust and synergistic partnerships and collaborations between government, academia, and other public and private entities (such as industry, non-academic research institutions, federal laboratories, public or non-profit technology transfer organizations, and/or other universities) to drive and accelerate the translation of federally-funded fundamental research results into innovations that, through technology development and commercialization, will have a significant economic and societal impact.

  • The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) / Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs provide proof-of-concept / feasibility grants for early stage, high-tech small businesses (6-12 months, $225,000) which could potentially be followed by grants to undertake cutting-edge, high-quality scientific research and development to de-risk their technologies (2 years, $750,000).


IIP home page image credits
Chip image credit: Tortuga Logic, Inc.
Two women with equipment for making silk image credit: Bolt Threads
Living cells implanted with sensor image credit: PharmaSeq, Inc.
Man with robot in background image credit: Courtesy of The University of Texas at Arlington