About TIP

The Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships, TIP, advances use-inspired and translational research in all fields of science and engineering, giving rise to new industries and engaging all Americans — regardless of background or location — in the pursuit of new, high-wage jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The arrow image is about providing a variety of programs to support use-inspired, translational research toward national, societal and economic impact.

Credit: National Science Foundation

Fostering innovation and technology ecosystems

TIP brings together teams of researchers, practitioners and users to shape research directions, catalyze iterative co-design and co-creation, develop game-changing technologies and solutions to address the nation's societal and economic challenges, and grow the future workforce. TIP's impact is embodied in its dynamic programs, including TIP's Convergence Accelerator and new programs to be announced in the coming months:

NSF's Convergence Accelerator

Credit: National Science Foundation

Convergence Accelerator

Builds upon NSF's investment in basic research and discovery to accelerate solutions toward societal and economic impact. Convergence Accelerator multidisciplinary teams use convergence research fundamentals and innovation processes to stimulate innovative idea sharing and development of sustainable solutions.

Learn about the Convergence Accelerator

NSF's Regional Innovation Engines Program

Credit: National Science Foundation

Regional Innovation Engines

Bolsters innovation ecosystems across the U.S. The Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines, program supports the development of diverse, regional coalitions to engage in use-inspired research, drive research results to the market and society, promote workforce development, and ultimately stimulate the economy and create new jobs.

Learn about the NSF Engines program



ExLent Graphic


NSF’s Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies (ExLENT) program expands practical learning opportunities for individuals interested in entering or gaining more experience in emerging and novel technology areas.

Learn about ExLENT

Accelerating research to impact

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. TIP provides an infusion of co-funding to existing NSF programs, led by other directorates, focusing on use-inspired, solution-oriented research in key technology areas, such as the National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes and Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes, allowing these to scale toward significantly more impactful levels and further harness the geography of innovation across the U.S.

Establishing translation pathways

TIP accelerates the translation of research results to practical use through its Lab-to-Market Platform. Programs within the directorate provide pathways for researchers, startups, small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to move their ideas from the lab to society while gaining access to a range of NSF resources. TIP's highly integrated programs support new pathways for translating research results to society as well, including new, open-source ecosystems, government services or at-scale educational innovations.

Lab-to-market platform

NSF's Partnerships for Innovation

Credit: National Science Foundation

Partnerships for Innovation

Provides NSF-funded researchers the opportunity to increase the impact of their discoveries. Partnerships For Innovation, or PFI, teaches researchers how to develop and implement a technology roadmap, create a business model, and develop their technology into a prototype or proof of concept.

Learn about the PFI program

NSF I-Corps

Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) 

Provides experiential entrepreneurial education to further the nation's innovation ecosystem. I-Corps connects the technological, entrepreneurial and business communities — addressing skill and knowledge gaps to reduce the time it takes to bring technologies from the lab to the marketplace.

Learn about the I-Corps program

America's Seed Fund SBIR.STTR

Credit: National Science Foundation

America's Seed Fund 

Invests in hundreds of early-stage startups annually, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. America's Seed Fund, powered by NSF, supports startups and small businesses working across almost all areas of science and technology. Each company can receive up to $2 million to support research and development. 

Learn about America’s Seed Fund

Activate Logo


Entrepreneurial Fellowships

Over two years, each Activate Fellow supported by NSF will receive training and at least $350,000 in direct support, plus access to specialized research facilities and equipment. These Entrepreneurial Fellowships are made possible by NSF funding to Activate.org, a nonprofit organization.

Learn more and apply on Activate.org.


Open-source ecosystems

NSF's Pathways to Open-Source Ecosystems

Credit: National Science Foundation

Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems

Offers researchers a novel pathway for translational impact. Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems, or POSE, fosters open-source communities and models — from software systems and data systems to climate modeling and CRISPR — to create products and artifacts that help to solve societal and economic challenges.

Learn about the POSE program

Prize challenge

Credit: Innovate UK KTN

Privacy-Enhancing Technologies

Build privacy-preserving artificial intelligence solutions to tackle financial crime and improve pandemic responses by competing in the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Prize Challenge.

Learn more about the prize challenge



Partnering to engage the nation's diverse talent

STEM talent is much more distributed across sectors, prompting the need for unique new partnerships that blend together expertise and resources. TIP ignites partnerships among academia, industry, government, nonprofits, civil society and communities of practice to cultivate regional innovation ecosystems, create technology solutions, support future STEM leaders who reflect the rich cultural and geographic diversity of the country, and ultimately advance our nation's economy and competitiveness.