Sept. 28, 2022 — The U.S. National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator released its comprehensive 2022 Portfolio Guide, showcasing novel, use-inspired solutions from more than 45 NSF-funded multidisciplinary teams across six distinct convergence research track topics.
“NSF’s Convergence Accelerator is a unique and fast-growing initiative that fosters multidisciplinary collaboration between diverse groups of talented researchers and experts,” said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF assistant director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. “In this way, the Convergence Accelerator furthers the mission of NSF’s new Technology, Innovation and Partnerships Directorate, which aims to accelerate breakthrough technologies and solutions that address national-scale societal and economic challenges. We are excited to share this guide that illustrates the variety of ways NSF-funded Convergence Accelerator teams are developing impactful solutions that do just that.”
Yearly, the program releases a solicitation featuring multiple convergence research topics. Convergence research topics are called “tracks” and funded teams within the tracks make up a cohort. All teams within a cohort begin in Convergence Research Phase 1.
The 2022 Portfolio Guide highlights projects from Phase 2 teams funded in the 2019 and 2020 cohorts and Phase 1 teams from the 2021 cohort. Each project features a detailed executive summary with information about the solution, it’s differentiators, current roadmap and partners.
The Convergence Accelerator track topics include:
Track A: Open Knowledge Networks: Knowledge networks correlate data to create new understandings. The Convergence Accelerator is funding the creation of Open Knowledge Networks infrastructure and domains in urban flooding, judicial court records, biomedical health and geospatial information.
Track B: AI & the Future of Work: Artificial intelligence or AI, machine learning and robotics are shifting the future of work. The Convergence Accelerator is funding solutions to train, reskill, upskill the current and future workforce with industry needs and jobs of the future, as well as build a talent pipeline to stimulate the U.S. workforce.
Track C: Quantum Technology: Quantum technologies can improve the U.S. industrial base, create jobs, and provide significant progress toward economic and societal needs. The Convergence Accelerator is funding solutions for a diverse set of applications.
Track D: AI-Driven Data Sharing & Modeling: AI research and development requires access to high-quality datasets and environments, and testing and training resources. The Convergence Accelerator is funding solutions to address data and model-related challenges and data types.
Track E: Networked Blue Economy: Ocean-related industries and resources, or the blue economy, play a central role in addressing societal challenges like climate, sustainability, and pollution. The Convergence Accelerator is creating a smart, integrated and open ecosystem for ocean innovation, exploration and sustainable use.
Track F: Trust & Authenticity in Communication Systems: Modern life depends on access to communications systems that offer trustworthy and accurate information. The Convergence Accelerator is funding tools and techniques to help the nation effectively prevent, mitigate and adapt to critical threats to communication systems.
“The Convergence Accelerator is very hands-on with our funded researchers,” said Douglas Maughan, head of NSF’s Convergence Accelerator program. “Not only do we provide tools to help them develop their idea into a proof of concept and later a tangible solution, but we also want to help our teams with transition to practice. The Convergence Accelerator’s Portfolio Guide is one of the products we developed to help highlight our funded teams. Others have the opportunity to learn more about each track topic, and the funded solutions aligned to the track.”
The Convergence Accelerator’s portfolio of funded work will continue to grow throughout the year as four more research track topics will begin Phase 1 of the Convergence Accelerator program before 2023. Please visit beta.nsf.gov/funding/initiatives/convergence-accelerator/portfolio for more information.