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Credit: Douglas Pancoast & Satya Mark Basu, School of the Art Institute of Chicago/Array of Things

Smart & Connected Communities: A Vision for the 21st Century

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a leader in advancing the fundamental research, innovation, and education that will revolutionize the cities and communities of the future.

NSF's Smart & Connected Communities (S&CC) effort aims to advance understanding of our cities and communities to improve their functioning and quality of life within them through innovations in computing, engineering, information and physical sciences, social, and learning sciences.

NSF envisions that the work of researchers across a wide range of academic disciplines, in close collaboration with diverse community stakeholders, will together transform advances in areas such as economic development, education and learning, energy, environmental quality, public health and wellness, public safety, social services, telecommunications, transportation, and many others.

By addressing current and future challenges through fundamental research, building capacity for research, and transiting research to practice, these efforts seek to improve the quality of life in communities, while protecting individual security and privacy. NSF has long supported the fundamental research, education activities, and partnerships that form the foundation for Smart & Connected Communities. Among the fundamental advancements are (1) new methods and technologies for leveraging data; (2) advances in the modeling and design of complex sociotechnical systems; (3) research in the dynamics, characteristics, and behaviors of individuals and communities; and (4) development of new methods and technologies that support education and workforce development. Looking forward, NSF will leverage longstanding investments, as well as future investments, that engage researchers across multiple disciplines and community stakeholders to solve deeply interdisciplinary, integrative challenges at the interface of social and technological systems.

The NSF-wide investment in S&CC aligns with the Smart Cities Initiative announced in September 2015, and includes participation from the NSF Directorates for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG), Geosciences (GEO), and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE). Updates and additional information about NSF's participation in the first year of this initiative are available in a White House Fact Sheet.

NSF is also working with other agencies across the federal government interested in S&CC, along with private and international partners.

The information below summarizes activities and funding opportunities in Smart & Connected Communities at NSF, along with additional information on the S&CC initiative.

NSF Research Programs and Funding Opportunities

NSF-Sponsored Workshops

More about S&CC

NSF News

  • Press Release 16-113: NSF commits more than $60 million to Smart Cities Initiative - Agency-wide effort to further science, engineering and education will address challenges in cities and communities nationwide
  • Press Release 15-103: Cultivating smart and connected communities - NSF exhibits commitments in support of White House Smart Cities Initiative
  • Press Release 15-105: Laying the foundation for smart and connected cities and communities - NSF issues 12 new awards in support of the Global City Teams Challenge
  • Press Release 15-107: Gigabit application prototypes to help cities and communities serve citizens better - NSF awards nearly $12 million to expand innovation ecosystem for next-generation Internet applications
  • Press Release 15-106: NSF invests $10 million in smart, human-centered service systems - Awards to spur innovation for smart health, manufacturing, and infrastructure
  • Press Release 15-104: NSF supports urban-scale instrument to measure city's fitness - $3 million grant to the University of Chicago will prototype smart city technology
  • Press Release 15-096: A partnership to secure and protect the emerging Internet of Things - National Science Foundation and Intel Corporation team to improve the security and privacy of computing systems that interact with the physical world using a new cooperative research model
  • Press Release 15-108: NSF invests $20 million to enhance resilience of critical infrastructure - Infrastructure must outsmart disruptions to continue delivery of essential goods and services