Opportunity number
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity (EPIIC)
Due date
Preliminary Proposal Due February 15th, 2023, Full Proposal Due May 25th, 2023
Advanced Manufacturing Big Data Broadband Economic Development Education Education & Workforce Energy Information Technologies Infrastructure Privacy Research
Project funding
Up to $400,000
Program funding
Funding size
Below $1M

Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity (EPIIC)

RFP Summary provided by the agency

The purpose of this solicitation is to broaden participation in innovation ecosystems that advance emerging technologies (e.g., advanced manufacturing, advanced wireless, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum information science, semiconductors, and microelectronics) by supporting capacity-building efforts at institutions of higher education (IHEs) interested in growing external partnerships. Establishing more inclusive innovation ecosystems requires broad networks of partners working together in support of use-inspired research; the translation of such research to practice or commercial application; and the development of a skilled workforce. This solicitation aims to provide MSIs, PUIs, and two-year institutions with limited or no research capacity with the support necessary to become equitable partners with teams competing under the current and subsequent NSF Engines program funding opportunities. Importantly, participation in this solicitation is not predicated on an existing partnership with organizations submitting an NSF Engines proposal. Rather, it is expected that the capacity-building efforts funded under this solicitation will provide significant innovation partnership opportunities irrespective of future participation in an NSF Engine.

Capacity-building efforts supported by this solicitation should focus on the resources, infrastructure, and expertise required for an institution to establish meaningful partnerships with external organizations to facilitate participation in the regional innovation ecosystem. Such efforts may include, but are not limited to:

  • Growing corporate, community, and/or local government relations,
  • Building external partnerships for nimble workforce development programs responsive to regional needs,
  • Growing external partnerships to advance technology commercialization, especially those relevant to the regional innovation ecosystem,
  • Expanding the institution’s research enterprise (e.g. research development, research administration, research leadership, etc.) through external partnerships.

What is the mission and focus of the program: research, social, economic or others?

Science and Technology and other Research and Development

How do you submit to this opportunity?

Preliminary proposals are required and must be submitted via Research.gov, even if full proposals are submitted via Grants.gov. Participation in the EPIIC workshops will be by invitation only from the pool of proposers who submitted preliminary proposals. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further detail on the content to include in the preliminary proposal. Full Proposals can be submitted on Research.gov or grants.gov

Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?

  • Non R1 & R2 2- and 4-year institutions of Higher Education.
  • Minority Serving institutions: include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), Tribal colleges or universities (TCUs), and other institutions that enroll a significant percentage of underrepresented minority students as defined by the U.S. Department of Education.

Webinar Information

Introduction Webinar

Q&A Webinar on February 2, 2023 3:00 PM. Register here

  • In this session, program directors will answer questions about the preliminary proposal submission process, program eligibility, and what we look for when we review proposals.

Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:


Investigator(s): Susan Renoe (Principal Investigator), Aditi Pai (Co-Principal Investigator), Kimberly Eck (Co-Principal Investigator)

Sponsor: University of Missouri-Columbia

This project will support an in-person workshop and mentoring activities in support of capacity-building efforts by NSF to enable the participation of minority-serving institutions, community colleges, and two-year and four-year institutions to participate in regional innovation ecosystems. To support institutions in building collaborations, identifying resources, and preparing competitive grant applications, the activities under this project will connect Emerging Research Institutions (ERIs) with experts in research development and broader impacts work.

Specifically, the project will leverage resources from the Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS), Spelman College, and the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) to support ERIs as they work through the submission of research capacity-building proposals by establishing relationships among and between ERIs and experts in research development and broader impacts. The activities will focus on the workshop participants’ ability to create partnerships with external organizations to grow in workforce development, research and development, and translation of research to practice. The proposed partnerships represent a unique opportunity for researchers and administrators at ERIs to join with one another and benefit from the guidance of experts to develop and submit strong collaborative research proposals.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.


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