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NSF establishes new directorate to accelerate breakthroughs in emerging technologies

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a new directorate—Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP)—within the NSF ‘to harness the geography of innovation at speed and scale.’

NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan announced the new directorate during his session on “Reinvigorating Science and Technology for the Future of U.S. Innovation” recently at SXSW 2022. This new directorate, TIP, is NSF’s first in more than 30 years.

“The TIP Directorate will leverage strategic partnerships spanning multiple disciplines and sectors to advance the frontiers of emerging industries, from trustworthy artificial intelligence systems to biotechnology, cybersecurity, next-generation wireless networks, microelectronics and semiconductors, and quantum computing platforms,” reads a news release issued by NSF.

Besides taking the reins of several existing NSF programs, such as SBIR and I-Corps, the TIP directorate will launch new activities such as Regional Innovation Accelerators (RIAs) throughout the U.S. to advance use-inspired, solutions-oriented research, entrepreneurship and innovation in a range of technology areas (e.g., artificial intelligence, quantum information science and advanced wireless etc.)

The news release also reads: “In addition to new investments, NSF is repositioning much of its existing innovation and translation portfolio into the TIP Directorate, including the NSF Lab-to-Market Platform comprising the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™), Partnerships for Innovation, and America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF programs, as well as the NSF Convergence Accelerator.”

“By pursuing new approaches that engage the nation’s broad and diverse population in shaping research directions and outcomes, TIP will be a game-changer in terms of the pace of technological breakthroughs, future job growth and national competitiveness,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan.

NSF has named Erwin Gianchandani as the inaugural Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships or TIP.

NSF’s About TIP page reads: “TIP accelerates breakthroughs in critical and emerging technologies — such as advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, advanced wireless, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum information science, and semiconductors and microelectronics — to grow long-term U.S. competitiveness.”

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