Building your evaluation plan for NSF Regional Innovation Engines

  • November 15, 2022

As you know, the NSF Regional Innovation Engines Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) Type-2 Full Proposals: Due January 18, 2023

This Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) is the first funding opportunity for the NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) program, a bold new initiative of the National Science Foundation that will create regional-scale innovation ecosystems throughout the United States.

Providing up to $160 million of funding for up to 10 years to establish each Engine, with up to an additional two years of development funding even before the official launch of an Engine, the program offers a unique opportunity to usher in a transformational revolution of economic growth by harnessing the Nation’s rich science and technology research enterprise and regional-level resources to address societal challenges and promote national competitiveness.

Each Engine must develop a comprehensive Evaluation Plan that establishes appropriate criteria, goals, and growth/success indicators aligned with the Engine’s vision. A well-versed evaluator will know how to construct the evaluation plan in a meaningful way.

An evaluator will be able to demonstrate in the evaluation plan HOW the following (at a minimum) will be achieved:

  • The “added value” of being funded as an Engine;
  • Establishing and creating effective partnerships with diverse stakeholders;
  • Progress toward achieving strategic goals;
  • Integration of meaningful diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA);
  • Effective implementation of educational and workforce training opportunities;
  • Successfully attracting, leveraging, and effectively utilizing complementary funding from sources;
  • Collaborations with existing innovation ecosystems and other hubs and assets within the region, including federally-funded R&D centers.
  • Collect input from all stakeholders engaged in or impacted by the Engine’s activities.

Your external evaluator should

  • Be an experienced evaluator or evaluation firm (✓ – We are.);
  • Be supportive of the innovation ecosystem and promote inclusive economic growth. ( – we totally do.);
  • Have experience working in the innovation and startup ecosystem ( – we totally do – this is our jam);
  • Be committed to creating regional-scale, technology-driven innovation ecosystems throughout every region of the United States, accelerating emerging technologies, driving economic growth, addressing key societal challenges, and maintaining national competitiveness ( – We do. );
  • Have a working knowledge of all (not just the Innovation Engine program) NSF guidelines, protocols, processes, and evaluation requirements ( – We totally do.).
  • Have experience evaluating large-scale ecosystem-change projects ( – We totally do.);
  • Have experience with reporting on project-level outcomes and federally required outcomes (GPRAs) (– We do);

Want to talk with us about how we serve as your External Evaluator for the NSF Regional Innovations Engines proposal? Schedule a consult call today. https://calendly.com/ebhoward/15min

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