NSF Convergence Accelerator (C-Accel)

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

We want your ideas: Request for Future Topics for the NSF Convergence Accelerator

The Convergence Accelerator issued a Dear Colleague Letter (NSF-21-012): Requesting for Information (RFI) on Future Topics for the NSF Convergence Accelerator program to capture national-scale societal impact ideas from the global community for fiscal year 2022. The RFI is the kickoff of the Convergence Accelerator’s ideation process. Selected ideas will be asked to submit a conference proposal to further develop the proposed idea and to gather insights into a final report to assist NSF in determining convergence research topics for 2022. 

RFI DETAILS:

  • Who can submit: Participants from academia, industry, government, non-profit, and other sectors are encouraged to submit
  • Ideas must include:
    • Be broad in scope that necessitates multiple teams working together in a cohort 
    • Have the potential for national-scale societal impact (e.g., Industries of the Future, NSF Big Ideas) 
    • Emphasize convergence research (e.g., multidisciplinary collaboration, partnerships) 
  • Response Due: November 9, 2020
  • To submit ideas to the RFI, visit http://bit.ly/NSF-21-012

 

UPCOMING CONVERGENCE ACCELERATOR IDEATION WEBINARS FOR RFI (DCL-21-012)
NSF wants your best ideas for future NSF Convergence Accelerator tracks. Join the NSF Convergence Accelerator on October 21 or 27, 2020 to learn about the program’s ideation process, specifically focusing on the FY 2022 Request for Information (RFI) on future topics. Attendees will learn about the Convergence Accelerator’s model and fundamentals, designed to leverage a convergence approach to transition basic research and discovery into practice. The goal of this webinar is to bring awareness of this exciting opportunity to accelerate NSF-funded research and discovery to further societal impact.

After registering a confirmation email containing the meeting information, including how to join will be provided. 



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.



Announcement - Upcoming Convergence Accelerator Future Topic Selection Workshops - 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. Upcoming workshops were gathered from Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) NSF-20-061.

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. A link to the final workshop report will be posted here once available.
https://prexda.astro.umd.edu/

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

Workshop Details:
For abstract, click here.
October 27 - 28, 2020
https://fpf.org/2020-pandemics-conference/

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

This workshop has concluded. A link to the final workshop report will be posted here once available.
https://harris.uchicago.edu/research-impact/centers-institutes/cyber-policy-initiative/workshop-inauthentic-behavior-in-online-and-digital-systems

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. A link to the final workshop report will be posted here once available.

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. A link to the final workshop report will be posted here once available.
http://www.qem.org/transdisciplinary-convergence-to-accelerate-strategies-to-mitigate-institutional-racism-in-criminal-justice-education-and-health-systems

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. A link to the final workshop report will be posted here once available.
https://apply.hub.ki/circulareconomy/

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. A link to the final workshop report will be posted here once available.
https://www.station1.org/station1-blog/2020-socioresilient-workshop

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

This workshop has concluded. A link to the final workshop report will be posted here once available.
https://www.carbonworkshop.org/

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. A link to the final workshop report will be posted here once available.
https://rethinknature.weebly.com

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

This workshop has concluded. A link to the final workshop report will be posted here once available.
https://www.smartoceans2020.org/

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

This workshop has concluded. A link to the final workshop report will be posted here once available.

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. A link to the final workshop report will be posted here once available.
https://synbiobeta.com/sbb/sbb-sept2020/synthetic-biology-global-conference-2020/
https://www.nonasoftware.org/nsf-conv-accel-workshop


SERVING AS A REVIEWER AND C-ACCEL 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 C-Accel 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

NSF’s Convergence Accelerator Pilot issued its first set of awards in September 2019. The Convergence Accelerator is a new capability within NSF to accelerate use-inspired, convergence research in areas of national importance that supports two of the Big Ideas and seeks to engage partnerships – notably public-private partnerships. The initial set of pilot awards are focused on two of the Big Ideas: Harnessing the Data Revolution (Track A) and Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (Track B). A total of 43 new awards in both tracks, totaling $39 million, support projects across the country that are identifying new ways to apply Big Data to science and engineering and create technologies that can enhance the lives of American workers.

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 C-Accel Solicitation 20-565 was held on April 16, 2020. Click to view the PowerPoint and video (transcript and closed captioning available as well via the video link).
  • A Webinar on C-Accel Solicitation 20-565 was held on April 16, 2020. Click to view the PowerPoint and video (transcript and closed captioning available as well via the video link).
  • A Webinar on C-Accel was held on March 27, 2019. Click to view the Video, Powerpoint and Transcript from the event.

  • A 2nd Webinar on C-Accel was held on April 3, 2019. Click to view the Video and Transcript from the event.

  • A 3rd Webinar on C-Accel was held on April 9, 2019. Click to view the Video and Transcript from the event.

  • A Webinar on C-Accel - Invited Full Proposals was held on May 14, 2019. Click to view the Video, PowerPoint and Transcript.

  • A Webinar on C-Accel - Invited Full Proposals was held on May 21, 2019. Click to view the Video and Transcript.

Frequently Asked Questions for NSF 19-050 Convergence Accelerator Pilot

Frequently Asked Questions for NSF 20-555 Convergence Accelerator Solicitation

CONTACT INFORMATION; C-Accel@nsf.gov

  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