NSF Convergence Accelerator

NSF CONVERGENCE ACCELERATOR OVERVIEW


The NSF Convergence Accelerator is a brand-new structure that is unique for NSF and the federal government. This video explains what the Convergence Accelerator is about and what has been accomplished with the 2019 cohort of teams.

NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS


2020 Cohort: Delivering societal impact through quantum and AI-driven data and model sharing research
September 17, 2020

The NSF Convergence Accelerator has selected 29 research teams for phase one of the 2020 Cohort to address two transformative research areas of national importance: quantum technology and artificial intelligence. NSF is investing more than $27 million to support the teams to develop the solution groundwork for Quantum Technology, and AI-Driven Data and Model Sharing to ensure that technological advancements have a positive impact on society. To read the entire award announcement, click here.

2019 Cohort: Accelerating research to impact society at scale
September 3, 2020

The NSF Convergence Accelerator program, a new NSF capability designed to address national-scale societal challenges, has selected nine research teams from the 2019 Cohort to move into phase two. Awarding over $28 million across the teams, phase two will continue developing solutions in three topics—Open Knowledge Networks, AI and Future Jobs, and National Talent Ecosystem. Over the next 24 months, the selected teams will continue to apply Convergence Accelerator fundamentals to include leveraging innovation processes and integrating multidisciplinary research and cross-cutting partnerships to develop solution prototypes and to build a sustainability model to continue impact beyond NSF support. To read the entire award announcement, click here.

2019 Cohort Project Videos

The Convergence Accelerator's 2019 Cohort phase I included 43 teams focused solutions in two track topics—Open Knowledge Networks (Track A) and The Future of Work (Track B). Both track topics support two of NSF's Big Ideas": Harnessing the Data Revolution and the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier.

During Phase I, a nine-month planning effort, teams leveraged the Convergence Accelerator's fundamentals and innovation curriculum to identify new team members and to further develop the identified solution. The innovation curriculum consists of training in human-centered design, team science activities, inter-team communications, pitch preparation, and presentation coaching—all of which are essential components of the Accelerator's model. At the end of phase I, each team participated in an Expo, pitch competition and a proposal evaluation. Selected teams from phase I were then selected into phase II. These videos feature 2019 Cohort Phase I teams and were crated for the 2020 Convergence Accelerator Expo. 

View the video list here.



Convergence Accelerator Future Topic Selection Workshops for FY2021- Convergence Accelerator research topics begin as an ideation process—gathering input, through a Dear Colleague Letter on future topics conference proposals, from industry, academic institutions, non-profits, government, and other interested parties. Identified topics must meet a societal need at scale, be built upon foundational research, and be suitable for a multidisciplinary, convergence research approach. The below workshops were gathered from Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) NSF-20-061, focused on gathering convergence research topics for FY2021.

Broad Theme: Data Science and Societal Impact

Symposium on Predicting Extremes by Data-Driven Analytics
Lead Institution: University of Maryland College Park
PI: Surjalal Sharma, ssh@umd.edu

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report is available on the workshop website, accessible by clicking here.

Privacy and Pandemics: Responsible Use of Data During Times of Crisis
Lead Institution: FPF Education & Innovation Foundation
PI: Jules Polonetsky, julespol@fpf.org

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report is available on the workshop website, accessible by clicking here.

Inauthentic Behavior in Online and Digital Systems
Lead Institution: University of Chicago
PI: Austin Wright, austin.l.wright@gmail.com

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report is available on the workshop website, accessible by clicking here.

 

Broad Theme: Education, Outreach, and Diversity

Improving Online Education Through Technology, Research, And Data
Lead Institution: Georgia State University
PI: Scott Crossley, scrossley@gsu.edu

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report is available on the workshop website, accessible by clicking here.

Transdisciplinary Convergence to Accelerate Strategies to Mitigate Institutional Racism in Criminal Justice, Education, and Health Systems
Lead Institution: Quality Education for Minorities Network
PI: Ivory Toldson, itoldson@gem.org

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report will be posted to the workshop website once available.

 

Broad Theme: Education and Sustainability

Design for a Circular Economy from Molecules to the Built Environment
Lead Institution: University of Pittsburgh
PI: Melissa Bilec, mbilec@pitt.edu

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report is available on the workshop website, accessible by clicking here.

 

Broad Theme: Sustainability

Socioresilient Infrastructure: Precision Materials, Assemblages, and Systems
Lead Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PI: Christine Ortiz, cortiz@mit.edu

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report will be posted to the workshop website once available, accessible by clicking here.

Technological and societal hurdles facing distributed carbon capture
Lead Institution: University of Oklahoma Norman
PI: Jake Walter, jwalter@ou.edu

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report is available on the workshop website, accessible by clicking here.

Re-think Nature for Innovative Solutions to Grand Challenges
Lead Institution: University of Maryland College Park
PI: Teng Li, lit@umd.edu

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report is available on the workshop website, accessible by clicking here.

Future of Oceans: Innovation, Exploration, and Utilization
Lead Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PI: Fadel Adib, fadel@mit.edu

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report is available on the workshop website, accessible by clicking here.

Advancing Sustainable Low Carbon Energy
Lead Institution: University of Houston
PI: Ramanan Krishnamoorti, ramanan@uh.edu

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report is available on the workshop website, accessible by clicking here.

 

Broad Theme: Biotechnology and Advanced Manufacturing

Workshop for the Development of Infrastructure for Distributed Bio-Manufacturing and Bio-Readiness
Lead Institution: Boston University
PI: Douglas Densmore, doug.densmore@gmail.com

This workshop has concluded. The final workshop report will be posted to the workshop website once available. The two workshop websites are accessible by clicking here and here.


SERVING AS A REVIEWER AND CONVERGENCE ACCELERATOR UPDATES

Are you interested in serving as a reviewer for future proposals? Would you like to stay informed and receive direct updates from our team? If so, fill out the SurveyMonkey and we'll be in touch. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CAccel.

Specifically interested in reviewing proposals for Track C: Quantum Technology or Track D: AI-Driven Innovation via Data and Model Sharing? If so, fill out this SurveyMonkey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CAccelReviewers.

 

WHAT IS A CONVERGENCE ACCELERATOR?

NSF’s Convergence Accelerator effort is a new capability within NSF to accelerate use-inspired, convergence research in areas of national importance via partnerships between academic and non-academic stakeholders. The Convergence Accelerator effort provides a home for this research and advances ideas from concept to deliverables.

Key Characteristics:

  • Use-inspired and application oriented
  • Fed by basic research & discovery
  • Adopts a convergent approach
  • Integrated teams including industry, academics, not-for-profits, government entities, and others
  • Fixed term, with a focus on deliverables
  • Intensive education and mentorship
  • Proactively and intentionally managed

 

BACKGROUND

The NSF Convergence Accelerator pilot started out with a singular vision: identify areas of research where investment in convergent approaches – those bringing together people from across disciplines, united to solve problems – have the potential to translate to high-benefit results and advance ideas from concept to deliverables. The Convergence Accelerator seeks to expand and refine NSF’s efforts to support fundamental scientific exploration by creating partnerships that could potentially include stakeholders from industry, foundations, government, nonprofits and other sectors. The first set of awards made through the Convergence Accelerator will leverage multidisciplinary research and lay the groundwork for public-private partnerships with industry, including Fortune 100 companies.

To view a listing of the awards, please see the following links:

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Is your organization new to submitting to NSF? If so, check out our supplementary guidance on submitting proposals to the NSF Convergence Accelerator by clicking here.

Information from past webinars may be found below:

  • A webinar on Program Solicitation NSF 20-565 was held on April 16, 2020. Click to view the PowerPoint and video (transcript and closed captioning available via the video link).

 

Convergence Accelerator Solicitation All Personnel Excel Spreadsheet (please follow the instructions in the spreadsheet carefully)

Sample Convergence Accelerator Curriculum Schedule

Convergence Accelerator 2019 Cohort Guide

Frequently Asked Questions for NSF 19-050 Convergence Accelerator Pilot

Frequently Asked Questions for NSF 20-555 Convergence Accelerator Solicitation

 

GENERAL INQUIRIES: Convergence-Accelerator@nsf.gov

STAFF CONTACT INFORMATION

  W. Douglas Maughan Office Head dmaughan@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-2497
         
  Chaitanya Baru Senior Science Advisor cbaru@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-2473
         
  Cody Bowles Program Analyst cobowles@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-2271
         
  Lara Campbell Program Director lcampbel@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-7049
         
  Pradeep Fulay Program Director pfulay@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-2445
         
  Ibrahim Mohedas AAAS Fellow imohedas@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-4329
         
  Linda Molnar Program Director lmolnar@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-8316
         
  Michael Pozmantier Program Director mpozmant@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-4475
         
  Christopher Sanford Program Director csanford@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-7512
         
  Shelby L. Smith Outreach & Communications Specialist slsmith@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-2647