NSF launches TRAILBLAZER program for groundbreaking engineering ideas

colorful lines

TRAILBLAZER will support engineers with innovative approaches and unconventional hypotheses.

October 10, 2023

The U.S. National Science Foundation announced the NSF Trailblazer Engineering Impact Award program, a new $15-million activity in the Engineering Directorate, to enable researchers with established records of creativity and paradigm-shifting outcomes to pursue novel engineering research projects that will open unexplored frontiers.

"With the NSF TRAILBLAZER program, we are supporting engineering researchers who have a track record of innovative breakthroughs -- to explore far beyond the boundaries of what we know and can do today," said Susan Margulies, NSF assistant director for Engineering. “We anticipate that our investment in NSF Trailblazers will generate novel solutions to grand challenges, yield fundamental new insights, and pioneer technological advances that strengthen U.S. competitiveness."

Each TRAILBLAZER award will provide up to $3 million over three years for a project led by a single investigator in any field or topic of engineering.

"We look forward to the NSF TRAILBLAZER program advancing the Engineering Directorate’s goals to significantly address societal challenges through groundbreaking engineering research," said Sohi Rastegar, head of the NSF Office of Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities, which manages the program.

To learn more, visit the NSF TRAILBLAZER program page and join the TRAILBLAZER webinar on October 12.


The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

mail icon Get News Updates by Email 

Connect with us online
NSF website: nsf.gov
NSF News: nsf.gov/news
For News Media: nsf.gov/news/newsroom
Statistics: nsf.gov/statistics/
Awards database: nsf.gov/awardsearch/

Follow us on social
Twitter: twitter.com/NSF
Facebook: facebook.com/US.NSF
Instagram: instagram.com/nsfgov