Office of the Vice President for Research

Extramural Coordinated Funding

UM Submission Instructions: Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) 2022

Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Award Title: Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines)
The duration of a Type-1 award is up to 24 months and the maximum proposed budget for each Type-1 award must not exceed $1,000,000. Type-2 awards are up to $160M over a period of up to 10 years, spanning distinct phases.
UM Deadline: 07/20/2022
Sponsor Deadline: 08/31/2022
Description: UPDATE: There is no limit on the number of concept outlines the university is allowed to submit. Please make sure to submit a concept outline by the deadline of 6/30/22 if you are interested in submitting a full proposal to NSF.

Please note the August 31st sponsor deadline is for the required Type-1 Letter of Intent. You must submit application materials for the internal UMN deadline for both Type-1 and Type-2 proposals at this time, since the UMN can only submit one total LOI.

The NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) program is a bold new initiative, committed to creating regional-scale, technology-driven innovation ecosystems throughout every region of the United States, accelerating emerging technologies, driving economic growth, addressing key societal challenges, and maintaining national competitiveness.

The NSF Engines program aims to fund regional coalitions of partnering organizations to establish NSF Engines that will catalyze technology and science-based regional innovation ecosystems. Each Engine must focus on addressing specific aspects of a major societal and/or economic challenge that are of significant interest in the Engine’s defined “region of service,” where such a region could range from a metropolitan area (including its adjacent rural regions) to an area spanning parts of several states. The mission of an Engine must be clearly rooted in regional interests and the development of regional talent. The emphasis on “regions” expresses NSF’s aim to stimulate innovation driven economic growth within a particular region of service. The NSF Engines program is particularly interested in creating new business and economic growth in those regions of America that have not fully participated in the technology boom of the past several decades.
Number of Applicants University is Allowed to submit: 1
Additional Requirements: None
Sponsor Guidelines:
UM Nominations Process: OVPR will competitively select a UMN team to lead the submission of one Type 1 or Type 2 proposal using the following process. If a Type 1 proposal is selected, a LOI will be submitted on August 30. If a Type 2 proposal is selected, internal deadlines will be set to ensure the proposal development is advancing toward completion with appropriate processes, partners, and infrastructure for a successful submission. To learn more about Type 1 or Type 2 awards click here.

If your proposal is not selected, we encourage teams to partner with external collaborators who may be able to submit as the lead entity.

July 20: Teams must submit their concept paper sent to NSF plus a 2-page addendum to to be considered for the internal UMN competition. The addendum must include:

1. Maturity of partners. Describe the maturity of relationships with partners proposed on the project (e.g., new network, established relationships).

2. Phase of Innovation Ecosystem. Describe what phase of the innovation ecosystem your proposal is in per the NSF Research Innovation website. The phases are briefly described below.
-- Development Phase – Initial scope is defined, and strategic plans are developed.
-- Nascent Phase – Organization and partnerships are solidified, and innovation activities ramp up.
-- Emergent Phase – Technological products and services and workforce capabilities are scaled, and the innovation ecosystem starts to attract sizeable external funding towards promoting innovation-based economic activity.
-- Growth Phase – Innovation ecosystem grows as a national leader—attracting increasing levels of economic activity and business creation—with underlying support from state, local, and federal governments.
-- Mature Phase – Innovation ecosystem is well established and can sustain itself without NSF Engines funding.

3. Provide a timeline for your proposal development (e.g. partner commitment, first draft, red team review). If you are planning on submitting a Type 2 proposal, please use January 10, 2023 as your submission deadline for your timeline.

August 17: Selection of UMN proposal team.
Peer Review Coordination: Office of the VP for Research contact email
Status: In Review
Please note: To be considered for peer review and internal selection, faculty must follow the above submission guidelines and meet the UM deadline as set by the office coordinating the peer review for this opportunity.

General Information

  • Each posting has information about the external sponsor and opportunity as well as the internal application instructions.
  • Opportunities can be sorted by column headings; just click on the heading to re-sort by that column.
  • When a link redirects you to another site, it opens in a new browser window.
  • If you know of an opportunity that is not on the list, please contact Robyn Kennedy.
Column Descriptions

  • Sponsor: redirects you to the sponsor's main website
  • Title/Guidelines: redirects you to sponsor specific information regarding the opportunity which may include description, eligibility, budget instructions, forms and other requirements
  • Amount: Maximum dollar amount awarded.
  • Add’l Req: Identifies special requirements such as cost sharing, partners, etc.
  • Sponsor Deadline: External deadline identified by the sponsor.
  • UM Submission Instructions: Contains specific internal submission requirements including internal proposal instructions, deadline, eligibility, internal nomination process, contact information.
  • # Apps: The maximum number of applications the sponsor will allow the university to submit.
  • UM Deadline: Submission deadline for internal proposal as determined by the coordinating office.
  • Status:
    • Open: UM deadline has not passed and the opportunity is open for application.
    • In Review: Peer review process is in progress for the opportunity.
    • PI Selected: The PI has been selected as the official UM nominee.
    • Closed: Sponsor deadline has passed and the opportunity is closed for application.
U of M Submission Instructions (Required)

This link includes summary sponsor information, specific instructions for internal submission and contact information for the university office coordinating the nomination process.

  • Follow the directions in the submission instructions and submit required materials by the UM deadline to the contact indicated.
  • Instructions vary according to the requirements of the sponsor and the university office coordinating the nomination process.
Registration (optional)

Registration is an optional but highly recommended feature. Perhaps you are looking for a wider audience for your proposal idea, or for potential collaborators to work with to create a stronger application. Registration allows applicants to share proposal ideas and post contact information.

Registration also provides information that helps the university office overseeing the nomination to determine the level of coordination needed and guide the review process.

To register (or view registrants), click on the UM Submission Instructions for a specific opportunity, then click on the Register Interest link.

Selection Process

  • Once the internal deadline has passed, the status will change to “In Review” and proposals will undergo review.
  • If there are multiple applicants, the office managing the nomination will determine the review criteria and coordinate the review process.
  • Once review has been completed all parties will be notified via email.
  • Nominees will be provided with a letter addressed to the sponsor from the OVPR indicating that they are the university's nominee. This letter should accompany the nominee's proposal.
  • SPA is notified of the university's nominee(s) and the status is updated to “PI Selected”.

*If you have questions about the University's process related to extramural funding opportunities requiring nomination or if you have any technical issues with the site, contact

For questions, please contact OVPR's Research Advancement group.