Congrats to NSF Regional Innovation Engines Competition

  • June 14, 2023

The U.S. National Science Foundation announced 34 semifinalists for the first-ever NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) competition, spanning nearly all key technology areas and societal and economic challenges highlighted in the “CHIPS and Science Act.” The NSF Engines will be led by universities, nonprofits, businesses, and other organizations from across U.S. states and territories. NSF is releasing the list of semifinalists to transparently encourage teaming among diverse organizations, innovation, and regional growth. View details and a map of the NSF Engines semifinalists on the NSF website.

The NSF Engines program is anticipated to be transformational for the nation, ensuring the U.S. remains globally competitive in key technology areas for decades to come. Each NSF Engine could receive up to $160 million over 10 years; actual amounts will be subject to a given NSF Engine’s status and overall progress, as assessed annually. NSF anticipates announcing the final list of NSF Engines awards this fall, with each awardee initially receiving about $15 million for the first two years.

More information about the program can be found on the NSF Engines program website

Did you know evaluation is a requirement for Engines?

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.

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