NSF Convergence Accelerator (C-Accel)


The NSF Convergence Accelerator is a brand-new structure that is unique for NSF and the federal government. This video explains what the Convergence Accelerator is about and what has been accomplished with the 2019 cohort of teams.


NSF’s Convergence Accelerator Pilot issued its first set of awards in September 2019. The Convergence Accelerator is a new capability within NSF to accelerate use-inspired, convergence research in areas of national importance that supports two of the Big Ideas and seeks to engage partnerships – notably public-private partnerships. The initial set of pilot awards are focused on two of the Big Ideas: Harnessing the Data Revolution (Track A) and Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (Track B). A total of 43 new awards in both tracks, totaling $39 million, support projects across the country that are identifying new ways to apply Big Data to science and engineering and create technologies that can enhance the lives of American workers.

The NSF Convergence Accelerator pilot started out with a singular vision: identify areas of research where investment in convergent approaches – those bringing together people from across disciplines, united to solve problems – have the potential to translate to high-benefit results and advance ideas from concept to deliverables. The Convergence Accelerator seeks to expand and refine NSF’s efforts to support fundamental scientific exploration by creating partnerships that could potentially include stakeholders from industry, foundations, government, nonprofits and other sectors. The first set of awards made through the Convergence Accelerator will leverage multidisciplinary research and lay the groundwork for public-private partnerships with industry, including Fortune 100 companies.

To view a listing of the awards, please see the following links:


Are you interested in serving as a reviewer for future proposals? Would you like to stay informed and receive direct updates from our team? If so, fill out the SurveyMonkey below and we'll be in touch. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CAccel.


NSF’s Convergence Accelerator effort is a new capability within NSF to accelerate use-inspired, convergence research in areas of national importance via partnerships between academic and non-academic stakeholders. The C-Accel effort provides a home for this research and advances ideas from concept to deliverables. 


  • Use-inspired and application oriented
  • Fed by basic research & discovery
  • Adopts a convergent approach
  • Integrated teams including industry, academics, not-for-profits, government entities, and others
  • Fixed term, with a focus on deliverables
  • Intensive education and mentorship
  • Proactively and intentionally managed


NSF 20-061 Request for Information on Future Topics for the NSF Convergence Accelerator Dear Colleague Letter

Topic submissions due via SurveyMonkey by April 30, 2020.

Workshop and conference requests for FY20 funding due by May 18, 2020.

General instructions for conference proposals may be found in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide, chapter II.E.7


NSF 19-050 Convergence Accelerator Pilot Dear Colleague Letter

Research Concept Outline Target Date

April 15, 2019 and rolling thereafter

Full Proposal Deadline – proposals must include an email invitation to submit based on the Research Concept Outline

June 3, 2019 (due by 5pm submitter’s time)


Information from past webinars may be found below:

  • A Webinar on C-Accel was held on March 27th. Click to view the Video, Powerpoint and Transcript from the event.

  • A 2nd Webinar on C-Accel was held on April 3rd. Click to view the Video and Transcript from the event.

  • A 3rd Webinar on C-Accel was held on April 9th. Click to view the Video and Transcript from the event.

  • A Webinar on C-Accel - Invited Full Proposals was held on May 14th. Click to view the Video, PowerPoint and Transcript.

  • A Webinar on C-Accel - Invited Full Proposals was held on May 21st. Click to view the Video and Transcript.

Frequently Asked Questions for NSF 19-050 Convergence Accelerator Pilot


Dear Colleague Letter 19-050

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 19-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after February 25, 2019. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 19-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


The National Science Foundation invites interested parties to participate in a new endeavor, the NSF Convergence Accelerator (NSF C-Accel) Pilot. With this DCL, NSF's goals are to: (i) pilot a new NSF capability (the NSF Convergence Accelerator) to accelerate use-inspired convergence research in areas of national importance, and (ii) initiate convergence team-building capacity around exploratory, potentially high-risk proposals in three convergence topics (tracks).

As a funder of research and education across all fields of science and engineering and with relationships with universities and funding agencies around the world, NSF is uniquely positioned to pilot this approach to accelerate discovery and innovation. NSF C-Accel brings teams together to focus on grand challenges of national importance that require a convergence approach. The teams are multidisciplinary and leverage partnerships; the tracks relate to a grand challenge problem and have a high probability of resulting in deliverables that will benefit society within a fixed term. NSF C-Accel is modeled on acceleration and innovation activities from the most forward-looking companies and universities.

The NSF C-Accel Pilot intends to support fundamental research while encouraging rapid advances through partnerships that include, or will include, multiple stakeholders (e.g., industry, academic, not-for-profits, government entities, and others). The NSF C-Accel Pilot will bring teams together in a cohort that are all focused on a common research goal of national importance, but which may be pursuing many different approaches.

NSF is planning to fund approximately 50 Phase 1 awards (up to 9 months and up to $1 million each). Additional funds will be available for a smaller number of Phase 2 awards. The first-step to become part of the NSF C-Accel Pilot is to submit a 2-page Research Concept Outline (RCO), aligned with one of the tracks described in NSF 19-050 Convergence Accelerator Pilot Dear Colleague Letter, with a target submission date of April 15, 2019.

How to Submit a Phase I Full Proposal to the Convergence Accelerator DCL 19-050 via FastLane

  • You MUST be invited to submit a full proposal. If you have not received an email from the Convergence Accelerator Program with two pdf invitation letters, then you cannot submit.
  • In the COVER SHEET section
  • Click the Program Announcement/Program Description button
    • Scroll to the bottom of the list for PDs and select PD 19-095Y Convergence Accelerator
    • Once you have highlighted PD 19-095Y Convergence Accelerator, click the Select button.

You will then see in the Unit Selection Lists screen that the Office of Integrative Affairs (OIA) has been selected.

  • Next pick the track to which you wish to apply under Programs (note that they are listed in reverse order in FastLane)
    • TRACK A1 = CA-HDR: Convergence Accelerato (HDR = Harnessing the Data Revolution)
    • TRACKS B1 & B2 = CA-FW-HTF: Convergence Accler (FW-HTF = Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier)
  • Click the Select Program button.
  • Once you have clicked Select Program, the track you have chosen will be listed in the Current List of NSF Selected Units box
  • Now click the Go Back button at the bottom of the page.
  • Select the Go button for REMAINDER OF COVER SHEET
  • Near the bottom of the Cover Sheet section for Type of Proposal, select the RAISE mechanism from the drop-down menu
    • FastLane will only allow ONE document to be uploaded as “the RAISE-Program Officer Concurrence Emails” Please upload your “invitation letter 2” in the ‘RAISE PO Concurrence emails’ category.  
    • Upload your “invitation letter 1” as Other Supplementary Documents
  • Project Personnel Table. FastLane is not currently able to convert an Excel file to a pdf.
    • Please prepare your Project Personnel Table in a Word/Text file format and allow FastLane to convert it to a PDF. This will ensure that your table is machine readable so that we can scan across all proposals for conflicts of interest with reviewers.
    • Upload your Project Personnel Table (text/Word format) as Other Supplementary Documents.

To see this information in more detail with screenshots of the relevant FastLane pages, please download this PDF.
If you have problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to FastLane Help at fastlane@nsf.gov and 1-800-673-6188 (answered 7 AM to 9 PM Eastern Time M-F).


  W. Douglas Maughan Office Head dmaughan@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-2497
  Chaitanya Baru Senior Advisor cbaru@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-2473
  Lara Campbell Program Director lcampbel@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-7049
  Nakhiah Goulbourne Program Director ngoulbou@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-7715
  Ibrahim Mohedas AAAS Fellow imohedas@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-4329
  Linda Molnar Program Director lmolnar@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-8316
  Michael Pozmantier Program Director mpozmant@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-4475
  Talitha Washington Program Director twashing@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-4640
  Pradeep Fulay Expert pfulay@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-2445
  Cody Bowles Program Analyst cobowles@nsf.gov Phone: 703-292-2271