Scoping a Civic Innovation Challenge for Smart and Connected Communities

October 16, 2018

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) has funded an activity to scope a Civic Innovation Challenge (CIC).

NSF has long supported fundamental research and education that helps advance our nation's cities and communities. These investments create the scientific and engineering foundations for smart and connected communities, and help to enhance economic vitality, safety, security, and health and well-being. Building on these efforts, the aim of a CIC would be to leverage data, technology, and social science to drive truly integrative community-centered research in partnership with the broader ecosystem of state and local governments, public planning, philanthropic programming, industry research and development (R&D) activities, and cross-community collaboration.

This activity is led by Ben Levine, Executive Director of MetroLab Network, in conjunction with Smart Cities Lab. As part of this scoping activity, MetroLab Network and Smart Cities Lab have launched an Ideas Competition that will help define the topics that would ultimately be addressed in a CIC . Visit the CIC website to share challenges affecting your city or community for which research may reveal transformative solutions.

Prospective philanthropic and industry partners are encouraged to contact Ben Levine at Additionally, questions regarding this announcement may be directed to the NSF Program Contacts below.


NSF Program Contacts

David Corman, Lead Program Director, Smart and Connected Communities Program, NSF/CISE,

Meghan Houghton, Staff Associate for Strategic Engagements, NSF/CISE,

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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