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Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) program that promotes innovation by bringing together colleges and universities, state and local governments, private sector firms, and nonprofit organizations.  These organizations form partnerships that support innovation in their communities by developing the people, tools, and infrastructure needed to connect new scientific discoveries to practical uses.

The goals of the PFI program are to:

  1. Stimulate the transformation of knowledge created by the national research and education enterprise into innovations that create new wealth; build strong local, regional and national economies; and improve the national well-being.
  2. Broaden the participation of all types of academic institutions and all citizens in NSF activities to more fully meet the broad workforce needs of the national innovation enterprise; and
  3. Catalyze and enhance enabling infrastructure necessary to foster and sustain innovation in the long-term.

PFI partnerships may focus on a specific technology, industry, or geographic area, and may request budgets from NSF of up to $600,000 for two to three years.  Proposed partnerships must include academic institutions and private sector organizations.  Partnerships that include state/local government are strongly encouraged.  Each partnership uses the specific educational and economic strengths of its community to advance local economic and educational opportunities, so there is a wide range of possible activities.  Activities anywhere in the following space can be proposed:

Innovation is the goal.  Partnerships are the means.

A complete list of current PFI awardees is available here.


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