Introduction to the new Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate

Introduction to the new Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate

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>> Richard Oram: Okay, it's time to get going here. Our first speaker is the Associate Director of the TIP Directory. And Erwin was going to be in person, but he's had to record this presentation. And so we're going to be, we'll be playing this presentation.

And I think you can put in questions to the to the Whova app and I'll be passing them on to Erwin after the presentation. Okay? So enjoy. >> Erwin Gianchandani: Thank you very much for having me to the 2023 Research Infrastructure Workshop. My name is Erwin Gianchandani and I have the pleasure and the honor of serving as the Assistant Director for Technology Innovation and Partnerships at The National Science Foundation. And I'm pleased to be able to join you today remotely and on tape to be able to give you a sense of this new directorate that we've started at NSF, called the Directorate for Technology Innovation and Partnerships.

I'm going to talk to you a little bit about the motivation for this new directorate, also spend some time talking about the structure, the form and the structure of the directorate that follows from the motivation and the mission, including some of our programmatics. And then at the end, I'll spend a little bit of time, just a couple of minutes at the end, talking a little bit about how we're thinking about research infrastructure in the context of the TIP Directorate and the mission that we have within the broader portfolio of NSF going forward. So with that, let me start first with just a little bit of a reminder. You know, it's been seven decades that the National Science Foundation has existed.

You all know that, as a card-carrying member of the group that's been funded by NSF or that is running several of our large-scale facilities and research infrastructure. You see on this slide some of the many innovations, discoveries and innovations that NSF has helped fuel over those seven decades, including the first image of a black hole, for example. The detection of gravitational waves through LIGO, and so forth through the research infrastructure that we have funded.

Our mission throughout those seven decades has been unchanged. It's been to promote the progress of science, to advance the nation's health, prosperity and welfare, and to secure the national defense. And you may say, Erwin, I know that mission and I know about NSF's storied history. But I always like to start here because sometimes when we talk about this new directorate, there are questions about how it ties back to the mission of NSF. So I ask that you remember this mission, keep that in the back of your mind as you hear me now talk about the progression that leads us to TIP and what it is that we're doing within this directorate specifically.

So under the leadership of our current director, Dr. Panchanathan, NSF has laid out three strategic priorities over the course of the last several years. One is to strengthen the established NSF, that is to support the investments that allow us to be able to expand the frontiers of knowledge, as well as technology. Another is to really inspire and engage the missing millions all across this country, when it comes to their participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. What are the interventions? What are the capacity building steps that we can take to really enhance and broaden participation among all individuals in all geographies all across the country? And then finally, accelerate technology and innovation.

What are the innovative and cross cutting partnerships and programs? Cross cutting within NSF and across sectors that allow us to ensure that we are at the bleeding edge when it comes to some of the foremost technological innovation that we want to foster for our nation and for our STEM enterprise as well. And so, over those seven decades and tied to those three pillars that you see today, we support research across all areas of science engineering, as you well know. From the biological sciences, to computer science, to social and behavioral economic sciences, and so forth. And we also work collaboratively with our colleagues in international, the Office of International Science and Engineering, as well as the Office of integrative activities, to both partner with international colleagues where it makes sense, but also to be able to really help double down on some of the integrative nests across the directorates as well, when it comes to programs like EPSCoR that focus in on specific states that have been underrepresented as an example.

Having said that, what we are really living through at the moment today is a changing landscape for the science and engineering enterprise. We've seen seven decades of investment by NSF as the federal government's leader in science and technology, and discovery and innovation, and research and education, and Workforce Development as well, as well as the infrastructure that you need to be able to do that. But here in 2023 we're also at the precipice of a defining moment for the science and engineering enterprise for our nation.

It's a defining moment because global competition in a number of different technology areas from artificial intelligence, to Advanced Wireless, to quantum information science, to biotechnology, and so forth, is intense. And that competition plays out in a day-to-day basis in terms of investments by the US and investments by other nations as well. We are seeing foremost, not just technological challenges that we face, but also socio-economic challenges too.

Whether it be climate issues, whether it be issues around equity or inequity, to access to education and health care, and even broadband connectivity. Whether it be critical infrastructure. We've seen what's happened in the wake of destructive heatwaves, or winter storms and so forth, knocking out the power grid. So we're facing a lot of socio-economic challenges as well.

And finally, when we think about the talent pool, as I talked about earlier, and this is tied very much to one of those pillars for NSF today, we have a key and pressing commitment today to be sure that we are engaging the full breadth and diversity of talent. The missing millions all across this country in the conduct of STEM to be able to ensure that we are making progress on that global competition space, as well as progress in terms of the socio-economic challenges that we're facing, too. And much of this is characterized by a recent report by the National Science Board. It's not so recent now, but a report that was published a few years ago that articulated a vision for the Science and Engineering Enterprise that NSF helps to support by the year 2030.

At the same time, as we face those global challenges, those socio-economic challenges, as well as the challenge of trying to be able to engage the full demography and geography of talent across the country, we're also facing a changing Science and Engineering Enterprise before our very eyes as well. One that is well poised by the way, to meet some of those challenges and defining moments that I talked about on the previous slide. It's a changing enterprise because the pace of discovery has been dramatically accelerated in nearly every field of STEM, by virtue of access to data, as well as access to emerging technologies, like machine learning and AI capabilities. We saw this firsthand for example, with the imaging of the black hole for instance.

Unprecedented amounts of data coming off of some of the research infrastructure that NSF has supported, coupled with emerging technologies, coupled with networking capabilities that allowed us to be able to do the image processing to detect that black hole for the first time and visualize it. That's just one example in one field. At the same time, when we look at the talent coming into classrooms today, some of the early career talent, much of that talent is making the case for wanting to be able to put their minds and their attention to addressing some of the pressing societal and economic challenges of our time. They've seen what science and engineering did with the pandemic, around the vaccines and so on, and they want to be front and center contributing to that as well. And then finally, when we think about where our talent ends up, after it graduates, after it gets degrees and certificates, it's at industry, it's at nonprofit, it's at state, local, and tribal governments. It is no longer strictly in academia.

And so how do we build the partnerships that allow us to cultivate blended teams from across sectors, is something that's also high on our minds when it comes to the Science and Engineering Enterprise of today and tomorrow going forward. And so that context, that sort of definitional space, if you will, is what ultimately takes us to the motivation for and now the creation of a new directorate for technology, innovation, and partnerships, or TIP, where the goal of this new TIP Directorate is really to serve as a horizontal, it's rendered on this figure with intention as a horizontal. It's a directorate that should be partnering with all of the other directorates and offices across NSF, should be partnering with the private sector and nonprofits and so forth as well, to really help strengthen and scale the investments that we're making to varying degrees today in the different directions. But strengthen and scale all across NSF investments in use inspired and translational research as we look to the future. And so the mission for this new TIP Directorate then, and this is why I started with the NSF Mission, because I want you to see the direct tie back to the NSF Mission at the end of the day.

But the Mission for this directorate is about harnessing our vast and diverse talent across this country, to advance critical and emerging technologies, to address pressing societal and economic challenges, to accelerate the translation of research results from the lab to the market, and ultimately to be able to train a diverse workforce for future jobs in these spaces as well. And again, nothing about this directorate is in our view at odds with a traditional and historic NSF Mission. Rather, we hope that it will serve as an amplifying agent for a part of the long and historic NSF Mission that we're so proud to serve.

And so if you if you take maybe just one thing away from this presentation or a couple things away from this presentation, I hope it will be both this slide and the next one. So, many of you have probably seen a version of this, where we go from lab to market. We're talking about society on the right-hand side with intention here, because not all solutions end up in a commercialize-able space. They may end up impacting society in other ways. But when you think about that by directionality between the lab and society, and you think about foundational research all the way to societal impact, including commercialization, we know that the public sector tends to invest in the left-hand side, the private sector tends to mess on the right-hand side, and there's this gap in between.

And we view TIP in many ways as really the entity, the organization, the ingredient that allows us to look at that gap as a ramp of opportunity and really bridge that gap as we look to the future going forward. And the way we want to do that is by catalyzing a bit of a paradigm expansion. So on the left-hand side of this slide, you will see a lot of what NSF is historically known for, largely investigator driven science and engineering. Primarily academic research teams. And it's resulted in a steady stream of discoveries that have improved our prosperity, and our resilience, and our quality of life and so forth. But what we want to see more of even is what you see on the right-hand side of this slide.

And this is broad brushstrokes. It's not that we only do the left-hand side today and we don't do any of the right-hand side, that's not true. But we want to, especially through TIP, amplify the right-hand side of bringing the users, the beneficiaries, the consumers of the research that we're trying to enable to the table to help shape and conduct that research. That means multi sector teams.

That means putting the pressing societal and economic and technological challenges of our time at the forefront, to help drive the research agenda that we want to pursue. So it's a little bit of that expansion from strictly focused on new ideas, new discoveries, new technologies, that we then pushed to the market and society, to bringing the market and society to the table from the start. Helping to motivate the research directions. And now, wanting to pull out the results into practice on a day-to-day basis.

And so we really see TIP as a key catalyst for the right-hand side of this slide. Not to say that the directorates aren't doing some of this today, each on their own. But really serving as an amplifying agent going forward.

And one thing that I'll stress here is from our vantage point, it's not an either or. This is about a rising tide lifts all boats, it's about TIP and this use inspired and translational research element, which has always been something that NSF has pursued, helping to grow the overall pie for all of NSF, and for all of the science, and engineering, and technology, and math that we want to support at the end of the day. So, if you take all that together, our core message at the end of the day is wanting to help advance competitiveness and societal impact for the nation by pulling together the partnerships that are going to drive and accelerate Diverse Innovation Ecosystems, Technology, Translation, and Development, as well as Workforce Development going forward. And over the next few minutes, I'm going to walk you through some examples of programs that we've either brought together under the TIP umbrella over the last year and a half since we established the directorate, or that we've initiated as new investments that speak to each of these three areas, Innovation Ecosystems, Tech Development and Translation, and Workforce Development as well. So I'll start first with diverse innovation ecosystems. Some of you may be familiar with a program that NSF actually launched back in 2019, called The Convergence Accelerator.

This is about trying to bring together diverse and convergent research teams who will go through a curriculum process, go through sort of coopetition cohort that's working together, but also competing with one another to some extent, to really focus in on pressing technological and societal challenges, and driving the development of sustainable solutions to those challenges as well. We do this in two phases. Phase one is a larger number of smaller awards.

Phase two is a smaller number of larger awards, to which we have down selected, sometimes encouraging teaming along the way as well. Over the course of the last several years we have run more than a dozen tracks of the convergence accelerator, including some, for example, the 5G Track on the bottom left in direct collaboration with other agencies, some also with international partners. The 5G Track for example is one where DoD provided nearly all the resources to be able to support that effort. But you see on this slide, real foresight around societal challenges, but technology that can help address those challenges as well.

So for example, Open Knowledge Networks that can drive the next generation of AI systems. What are some of the technological opportunities when it comes to enhancing the experiences of persons with disabilities so that they can be a part of society, feel like they're an equal part of society going forward and so forth, in this space? So that's one example of a program that's really setting out to develop innovation ecosystems where we're bringing together industry, nonprofits, state and local and tribal governments, plus academia to help shape directions and opportunities and solutions that are sustainable over time to some pressing socio-economic challenges through new innovative technological approaches as well. But it's on one end of the spectrum.

You saw the investment levels in that program, on the order of 750k to $5 million per project. On the other end of the spectrum is something that we launched about a year ago, a little over a year ago now, called the NSF Regional Innovation Engines or NSF Engines Program. Our goal with this program is to try to be able to really galvanize the development of diverse regional scale coalition's that allow for a focus around use inspired research, translational research, Workforce Development, and ultimately the stimulation of the economy and new jobs in that particular region. We have two classes of awards with the Engines program and this initial inaugural competition, development awards that are at the level of a million dollars for up to two years of support, effectively planning grants to help teams prepare for future Engines proposals, and full-fledged NSF Engines to the tune of up to $160 million over up to 10 years to support the progress and growth of that regional innovation ecosystem.

Matter of fact, we announced just about a month and a half ago, the first round of awards, these were the Development Awards, these were the planning grants to the tune of a million dollars each for a couple of years. 44 of these distributed all across the country, covering a range of technology areas, as well as societal and economic impact areas, from quantum, to optics, to cybersecurity, to sustainable energy and advanced agriculture, and so forth. We're really proud of the fact that when you look at the geography of the nation we touched through these investments, 46 states and territories across the US. And then just a few weeks ago, this month, we announced 34 semifinalists for the full NSF Engines Competition that is currently underway. We don't often announce projects in mid-course, but we did so in this particular case because we want to continue to end gender teaming as appropriate between the teams that are either advancing, and the ones that are not advancing as well.

You see here, the 34 projects that are progressing, again, across a range of topic areas and a range of geography as well. And when you overlay the type ones and the type twos, the two different types of projects, either the awards or the semifinalists, again, we feel really good anyway about the geography, as well as the breadth of topics spaces that we're covering with his portfolio too. We recognize that the Engines Program is very different from what NSF has historically done. It's a whole new level of scale and breadth and diversity of impact that we're seeking.

And so as we think about sort of a nucleus of organizations that come together to form the engine and over time grow into a regional innovation ecosystem, we recognize that we need to be able to provide investment to organizations, for example, institutions of higher education that are perhaps smaller and emerging in their research capacity, so that they can grow their research capacity and become a part of the Engines teams. So that's one thing that we're trying to foster. And then also, as these Engines grow into full scale innovation ecosystems, it's important for us to be providing the Engines with the resources that they need, whether it be partnership skills, whether it be a better understanding of connectivity and touchpoints between one Engine and another, and so on. How do we enable, how do we create the opportunity space to maximize the chances for an engine to be able to progress into a full-scale regional innovation ecosystem over time? And down the road, for example, we recognize we may need other scaffolding, for example, a venture platform that brings follow on investment to the table so that we can sustain these efforts beyond simply NSF resources, sustaining these efforts into the long term. So hopefully, that gives you a sense of how we think about innovation ecosystems and trying to cultivate innovation ecosystems that drive new technology to help address societal challenges.

Next, we also want to think about as we see technological growth and technological maturation, how do we help to accelerate the translation of that technology into practice? Some of you are probably very familiar with the long running lab to market suite of programs that NSF has helped lead, initiate in some cases and lead for the federal government as a whole. For example, we have three programs that come together. One is the I-Corps program that provides experiential entrepreneurial education to individuals and teams that are looking to take ideas from the lab and starting to progress on that journey to potentially the market. We have funded over the course of the last several years ten I-Corps Hubs that are distributed geographically across the country to provide that training to help support that customer discovery and that market fitness that teams need to be able to go through and experience so that they can determine whether there's a market for their concept and what that market actually looks like for that concept. And so we funded the hub's, we intend to grow this program to fully cover the geography of the nation. You see some gaps that we're looking to fill over the next year.

But additionally then, it's about trying to be able to support the teams themselves, that are going to go through the hubs training opportunities to receive an entrepreneurial education and mentoring to be able to ultimately reduce the time that it takes to bring technologies from the lab to the market through that customer discovery and product market fitness alignment over time. Sort of next in the progression, and one doesn't need to necessarily go on this order, but sort of a natural way of describing these programs. Next in the progression, Partnerships for Innovation, or PFI, which allows researchers, often NSF funded researchers, with the ability to partner with industry, to license their technologies with companies, to be able to sort of gain those market insights and be able to understand what commercial applications might look like for their concepts in practice. We have a couple of tracks, couple of phases within this program to help academics and nonprofits really be able to start to move forward in this space.

And then finally, SBIR, STTR, perhaps the most well-known of our programs in the lab to market space, Small Business Innovation Research, Small Business Tech Transfer programs that NSF helped pilot for the all-federal government back in the 1970s and 1980s. These provide upwards of $2 million of investment in R&D work for deep tech startups so that they can do that initial visibility and start to transition their discoveries into products and services with commercialization potential. A number of our SBIR's that over the years have been bought out, have continued today. Qualcomm for example, an SBIR STTR project that began back many, many years ago and is obviously well known in the wireless space today. We've got to one pathway, lab to market. Part of our goal in TIP is to also be able to build out pathways for other forms of translational impact.

We've seen for example in certain trade spaces in wireless and ecology and so on, that open-source ecosystems offer competitive advantages to closed box approaches, and they also allow for continued refinement, continued innovation that can spur further lab to market innovation elsewhere. And so, on the heels of and sort of in a philosophical mindset that's similar to SBIR with phase one phase two investment, we over the last year and a half or so launched a new program, our first new translational pathway called Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems, fielding proposals from academia, from industry and from nonprofits as well. And it's our hope over time to be able to build out those pathways being able to bring research to the table when it comes to impacting regulation, when it comes to impacting policymaking, when it comes to impacting educational settings all across the country. Not that we want to necessarily do the regulation, that's not our role, but can we help our researchers harden their technologies, harden their results, and position them for some of those conversations down the road as well. Another investment in the Technology Translation space that I'll highlight is a program called Art, Accelerating Research Translation. This is actually one that's called out by the CHIPS and Science Act that authorized the TIP Directorate specifically to try to support institutions of higher education to be able to build their capacity and infrastructure when it comes to translational research.

And we're looking to fund a number of projects this year, to the tune of $6 million each, to not only do some of that capacity building, but also to help train talent that can become sort of the art ambassadors, if you will, of the future as well. And finally, in the translational space, I will also highlight this partnership between NSF and our organization used to be called IQT Emerge, today, NobleReach Emerge, that's really looking at how do we get into the R&D space, even before I-Corps? How do we take some projects, for example, in the biotechnology space that have been funded by NSF's Bio Directorate? And how do we help researchers and students pinpoint what might be some specific pathways that they could pursue that might make their research even more commercializable or offer more potential for commercializability of their research on an accelerated timeline? So even before you get to I-Corps, as you're in the process of conducting research, bringing in commercialization advisors to help pinpoint specific directions and lineages that offer greater chance of commercial and societal impact in the nearer term. And so this team NobleReach Emerge is working with our colleagues in bio and they're also working with some of the bio funded researchers in the biotech space to try to drive forward progress in that arena. So that's in the translation space. Part of what CHIPS and Science has authorized TIP to do is to specifically focus in on key technology areas as well. So whereas most of the investments that I just talked about are technology agnostic, SBIR welcomes proposals across a number of different technology areas.

We recognize that it's also incumbent upon us to think about specific and focused investments in those key technology areas, like AI and Quantum, and microelectronics and semiconductors that allow us to be able to accelerate progress in those spaces as well, often in direct collaboration with other directorates across NSF as well. It's why coming out of a convergence accelerator track. This year, we've launched a new investment called Prototype Open Knowledge Network, or Protoco-OKN, that allows us to be able to prototype the scalable cloud-based infrastructure that we're going to need to be able to stitch together data and knowledge to answer fundamental questions on the fly around healthcare, around criminal justice, around climate, and across a number of other fields as well. It's also why in the space of privacy enhancing technologies, there's been a lot of good investment by our colleagues in the Computer Science Directorate, in the social behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate over the years and so on. Supporting new techniques like differential privacy, and fully homomorphic encryption, and secure multi-party computation. But we haven't necessarily seen all of those investments come to fruition in terms of day-to-day deployment on real world use cases around data.

And so part of our goal with this effort, which was opportunistic, admittedly, in terms of some things that were going on in the government at the time. But part of our goals with this effort around a privacy enhancing technologies prize challenge was to really coalesce partners, NSF, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, NIST, as well as the UK government to be able to accelerate progress by bringing real world datasets to the table alongside researchers to harden and insure some of those technologies into the future as well. And the same thing is true in this space around learning technologies. Where, again, interest on the part of multiple foundations coming together with interest at NSF and in the TIP Directorate to help support interdisciplinary teams to think about how they can start to advance their innovative concepts and really get to Game Changing learning technologies that can be deployed in formal and informal settings all across this country as well.

So three instances of technology areas, learning technologies, privacy, and data and privacy, as well as that focus on knowledge networks that can drive future AI systems that serve to illustrate the kinds of focused investments you could imagine TIP pursuing, often in collaboration with our colleagues and other directorates along the way as well. And finally, I'll note that one of our efforts here in the semiconductor space, microelectronic space, that we're especially excited about. This was a collaboration that we announced in partnership with four other companies in the microelectronic space, together with other directorates at NSF. So this is not necessarily TIP led, but this is TIP coming to the table to partner with other directorates to help scale what we're able to do.

In this case, looking to enable co design across materials, architectures, and systems and devices, trying to look up and down the computing stack and rethinking that stack in the face of the end of Moore's Laws, many have talked about for quite some time as well. So hopefully that gives you a sense of how we're approaching our Technology Translation and Technology Development portfolio. And I'll note that to really help better understand where are the opportunity spaces for TIP to be investing in. You know, we don't want to just do this in a vacuum. We really want input from the broader community to help shape our portfolio going forward. We recently issued an RFI to the community, a request for information publicly, that's looking to you all to provide us with input on, what are the specific areas that we should be thinking about as we develop a roadmap for where our investments might be emphasized over the next three years, across these 10 critical technology areas that are called out in CHIPS and Science, and also across the five societal national and geostrategic challenge areas that CHIPS and Science also calls out for the TIP Directorate as well.

I encourage you to take a look at this RFI. I encourage you to submit to this RFI. It's sort of a pilot effort for how we can build roadmaps over time, seeking input from the community to help shape things going forward.

So that's sort of our portfolio around Technology Development and Translation. And the last part is around Workforce Development. For us when it comes to Workforce Development, it's really about emphasizing that notion of harnessing the full geography and demography of innovation that exists all across the country. This is something that Director Panchanathan has stressed from his very first day at NSF as the Director several years ago. And so in that context, we've launched a couple of programs that are really seeking to meet people where they are. The first is around Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies, or ExLENT.

Where the goal of this program is to really try to fill a gap that we have identified working in partnership with our colleagues in the STEM Education Directorate to really try to identify what are the opportunities for experiential learning and placements, whether it be internships, apprenticeships, and so on, for talent regionally all across the country. And in this case, it might be talent that's enrolled in a degree or certificate program today, but it might also be talent that's in the workforce today, not enrolled in a degree or certificate program, that's looking to pivot from a current job, a current environment, and looking to explore a high-tech trade space based off of the excitement that they're seeing on the news or the opportunity that they see in terms of future career growth. We're looking to fund through excellent regional cohorts of talent, I say talent intentionally, not just students, who have those practical experiences that can either catapult them into a degree or certificate program or complement what they might be doing in the classroom setting to better prepare themselves for the jobs of the future going forward. And similarly, but on a different wavelength, there's experiential learning in the key technology areas. There's also thinking about innovation and entrepreneurship in those key technology areas as well.

For a few years now, an organization called Activate has supported PhDs, recent PhDs who are interested in taking some of their ideas from their graduate work from the lab to the market, but they need the resources, they need the financial and business connections, they need the lab space to be able to really incubate their ideas and take them from concept to market over that timeframe. And so, Activate has supported a cohort of entrepreneurial fellows for a number of years at NSF through the TIP Directorate, it is growing that cohort with additional investment that we're providing to support the individual stipends, but also to support specialized research facilities and equipment that allows them to be able to take those lab concepts to market. And here also, in the Workforce Development space, just like in the Technology Development and Translation space, I will stress that we have an RFI out for public input, where we are seeking your input to help us understand what are the challenges and opportunities when it comes to investing in the pathways, the pathways that we need to invest in. No longer pipeline, but the pathways that we need to invest in as we try and meet talent where they are and really help talent get on that trajectory, get on that journey to being able to contribute. Whether coming out of K through 12 degree, K through 12 education, a community college degree, an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree, a post-op. Regardless of where the talent is, how do we provide them with pathways and opportunities to contribute to the STEM driven economy of tomorrow? So we welcome your inputs here as well, which surely will shape future funding opportunities through the TIP Directorate too.

So I hope that gives you a sense for how we're thinking about TIP, how we're thinking about the goals, the mission space, as well as some of the investment areas and some of the key programmatics that we have either brought into TIP upon its inception, or at the same time, tried to initiate a new, to really help drive progress in these spaces going forward. I did want to take just a couple of minutes to talk about Research Infrastructure. I think I'd be remiss if I didn't say something more in depth about RI in the context of this particular conference. I'm sure you all get, well I hope you all can benefit from hearing a little bit about TIP, but probably are very interested in hearing about how we think about Research Infrastructure and TIP as well.

So, this particular slide I put up merely to illustrate that all the different rows that you see here correspond to different authorities that are assigned to the TIP Directorate, specifically in the CHIPS and Science act of 2022. We want to establish the directorate, these are the purposes of the directorate, these are the activities of the directorate. And then very specific, and named programs like the Regional Innovation Engines, Translation Accelerator, and so forth.

I talked about Entrepreneurial Fellowships for example. And you can see that some of these activities we feel are completed, some of them are ongoing, some of them will require additional resourcing to really be able to attain the scale that Congress had sought as part of that CHIPS and Science authorization. I'm going to highlight one row in particular, section 10390, around Testbeds, because we really see that as a core element of TIPs role in the Research Infrastructure Ecosystem. So The CHIPS and Science Act specifically authorized a Testbeds program within Tip. It said that in coordination with other agencies, it's the responsibility of the Director through TIP to establish a program in the directorate to make awards that really establish and operate Testbeds.

Could include fabrication facilities and cyber infrastructure, that allows us to be able to advance the development, the operation, the integration, the deployment, and the demonstration of new and innovative critical technologies. And we may use funds to support equipment, as well as to support the time of faculty and students to develop that equipment and get it to the point where it constitutes a Testbed. And we should also be doing this in conjunction with our other goals. For example, expanding the geography of innovation that exists all across the country when it comes to Testbeds. Now, you may say, well, how do we think about this? And the way that we think about this is to go back to some of the key technology areas that are called out in the CHIPS and Science Act Legislation for-.

Whether it be AI, or wireless, or [inaudible] manufacturing, or Biotechnology, or Quantum, or semiconductors and microelectronics. I put six on this slide because frankly, I ran out of space. There are 10 areas called out. But these six areas correspond to six technology, six of the ten technology areas that are called out in CHIPS and Science, and you can see that NSF historically has invested in some of these areas to date. For example, a number of years ago, we launched a program called Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research, or PAWR, out of the size directorate in collaboration with engineering and other agencies as well, that allowed us to be able to make progress in terms of innovations, new technologies, new protocols, new applications and services in wireless, leading to 6G and beyond wireless capabilities.

Well, you could imagine us through this Testbeds program, scaling those efforts. You could also imagine a similarly deploying efforts across the other technology areas. And in fact, while some of these may be public already, others are going to be overtime. We already have ambitions working collaboratively with the other directorates of NSF, MPS - Math and Physical Sciences, for example, in the Quantum space, CISE in the AI space, together with other directorates that also touch AI or also touch Quantum as well. So for us, this is a high priority for TIP, but it is a next high priority.

You've seen some of the initial programs that we've launched, subject to additional appropriations that follow the authorizations that we've talked about. And this for us is a next priority for the directorate as we think about the Testbeds program going forward. One thing that I'll stress is, you know, you think about Research Infrastructure. I've just characterize this as, what are the investments that TIP can specifically make to support Testbeds and infrastructure to enable R&D in each of these areas? I think it's also critically important to note and acknowledge that in the development of Research Infrastructure for other purposes.

Whether it be radio astronomy or other investments that we make, there's technology that drives that, we saw that with a black hole discovery, for instance. We saw that with LIGO and the detection of gravitational waves. There's other Technological Development and Translation that happens and we see TIP as an ally, as a partner of our other directorates when it comes to Research Infrastructure in that arena. It is every bit the reason why when we think about translational pathways in TIP, it's not just the commercialization, it can also be ways in which we can support, further support R&D through innovations and technology that can do that enablement of R&D and going forward as well.

So I hope through this talk, you see how in TIP we're really excited about really focusing in on Diverse Innovation Ecosystems, Translation and Development of Technology, and Workforce Development that allows us to be able to accelerate research to impact. And this is sort of an eye candy slide but it's one that we're really, really proud of, and it's reflective of the incredible work that the team that is TIP today. So I get to talk about it, but all of our program officers, all of our administrative team, all of our contractors, all the leadership across TIP, they've been hard at work over the course of the last year, year and a half or so, since TIP was established. Really leading the way, in terms of existing in new programs and investments, but driving them to a scale that has even greater impact across the country, whether it be partnerships with industry, whether it be Workforce Development, whether it be the Engines program, whether it be programs like I-Corps and others that enable for Technology Translation, Technology Development going forward. So with that, I'll pause here. I just would encourage you to please feel free to, please do check out the TIP website for all the latest information.

We try to keep that website updated with the latest, in terms of funding opportunities. I also encourage you to sign up for the newsletter that you can do through that website. We do try to send out quarterly updates about where we are with TIP, including information about beyond funding opportunities, other resources, workshops, activities, upcoming events, and so forth. And if you have further questions, though I can't be there in person this morning, I'm sorry about that.

I would encourage you to please feel free to reach out to or email me directly. We try to be very responsive to email and we are more than happy to be helpful in the context of the goals of this workshop and conference, but more generally as well as we go forward. So thank you all very much for the opportunity.

I hope this has been helpful and I look forward to engaging with all of you as we continue to embark on the journey that is the TIP Directorate. [ Applause ]

2023-10-23 10:47

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