Civic Innovation Challenge (352106)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

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Deadline: Feb 10, 2025

Grant amount: US $75,000 - US $1,000,000

Fields of work: Climate Change Resilience Civic Affairs Geology Computer Science & Engineering Science Citizen Science Biology Civil Engineering Engineering Show all

Applicant type: Nonprofit, College / University

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States


NOTE: Stage One deadline is May 1, 2024. Stage 2 deadline is February 10, 2025. All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. 

The Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC) is a research and action competition that accelerates the transition to practice of foundational research and emerging technologies into communities through civic-engaged research. By addressing priorities at the local scale that are relevant across the US, CIVIC is laying the foundation for a broader and more fluid exchange of research and technology capabilities and civic priorities through joint partnerships involving civic partners and the research community. CIVIC funds projects that pilot state-of-the-art solutions to community challenges over 12 months, following a six-month planning phase, and have the potential for lasting impact in the partnering community as well as the potential to be scaled and implemented in other communities. Additionally, the foundation for CIVIC projects should be rooted in maturing and transitioning state-of-the-art research in disciplines, including but not limited to computer science, engineering, geosciences, biological sciences, and social sciences. CIVIC is uniquely designed to enable transition to practice of innovations into communities, as follows:

  • CIVIC flips the community-university dynamic, by empowering communities and researchers to jointly identify civic priorities ripe for innovation and to address these priorities as equal partners;
  • CIVIC focuses on research-centered solutions that are ready for piloting in and with communities on a short timescale, where real-world outcomes can be evaluated within 12 months;
  • CIVIC requires a coalition of communities and civic partners and a multi-disciplinary set of researchers to co-create and execute pilot projects; and
  • CIVIC organizes and fosters nationwide “communities of practice” around high-need problem areas that allow for meaningful knowledge sharing and cross-site collaboration during both the pre-development and piloting stages.

For this solicitation, civic partnership and engagement activities, communities, and academic and civic partners must be based in the United States or its protectorates. For purposes of clarity, civic partners may include local, state, or tribal government officials; non-profit representatives; community organizers or advocates; community service providers; and/or others working to improve their communities. 

CIVIC is organized as a two-stage competition with two tracks centered around the following topic areas:

  • Track A. Climate and Environmental Instability - Building Resilient Communities through CoDesign, Adaption, and Mitigation
  • Track B. Bridging the gap between essential resources and services & community needs.

In Stage 1, approximately 35-40 Planning Grant awards will be made – each with a budget of up to $75,000 for six months to undertake planning and team development activities. These include solidifying the team, maturing the project plans, and preparing a well-developed full proposal for submission to Stage 2.

Only Stage 1 CIVIC recipients can submit to the CIVIC Stage 2 competition. In Stage 2, approximately 20 Full Awards will be made. These will be selected from Stage 1 award recipients. For Stage 2, proposals will be considered with budgets up to $1,000,000 for up to 12 months. Proposals must describe how the PIs will execute and evaluate their research-centered pilot projects.

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This page was last reviewed May 09, 2024 and last updated February 01, 2024