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 National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2020, its budget is $8.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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