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Industrial Innovation and Partnerships Division (IIP)

The Directorate for Engineering's division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) serves the entire foundation by fostering partnerships to advance technological innovation and plays an important role in the public-private innovation partnership enterprise.

IIP seeks to successfully invest in science and engineering research across all disciplines that have the potential for high impact in meeting national and societal needs. To achieve this goal, IIP focuses on leveraging federal, small business, industrial, university, state and community college resources.

Genuine partnerships are an important aspect of IIP programs. These partnerships are dynamic and growing relationships based upon mutual interests, knowledge sharing, and trust. Genuine partnerships require vision, performance goals and benchmarks, and passionate and visionary leaders. They are bound by essential interdependency and shared commitment. IIP partnerships should facilitate the types of infrastructure that can sustain and nurture the spread of innovative activity.

Innovation infrastructures educate and train human capital for research enterprise and the entrepreneurial aspects of innovation; develop social networks characterized by shared commitment and trust; and build a base of operational support without which sustainable partnerships cannot exist. This support includes a diversified base of private investment, a physical place to provide a context for incubation, technical, management, and administrative support, laboratories, communications services, and reliable sources of capital. One end of the innovation spectrum within the division includes unsolicited research proposals generated by the academic community. On the other end of the innovation spectrum, IIP supports small business research proposals aimed at pursuing opportunities to commercialize products and services.

IIP is home to the two congressionally mandated small business research programs, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. IIP also manages the Accelerating Innovation Research (PFI:AIR) as well as the Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) program, which stimulate innovation by building partnerships across the scientific, engineering, and business community. In addition, the IIP leverages industrial support through the Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) program. The division also actively participates in NSF-wide programs, such as the Grants Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) program. Another NSF-wide program in which IIP actively participates is the Innovation Corps program (I-Corps), which equips scientists with the entrepreneurial tools needed to transform discoveries with commercial realization potential into innovative technologies.

The IIP Division accepts only those proposals that are submitted in response to an open solicitation and will not accept proposals for past solicitations that are closed. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted except for the GOALI program, where the proposals are submitted to the respective disciplinary programs.

IIP home page image credits
Self-folding material image credit: Daniela Rus, MIT
Printable, programmable machines image credit: Harvard's Wyss Institute
Woman holding container image credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University