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NSF Convergence Accelerator Phases I and II for the 2021 Cohort

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, and IHEs for Research
Projects Related to Communications or Ocean Sciences

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

06/14/21 5:00 PM Submitter's local time


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, and IHEs, including Minority Serving Institutions, for research projects in the areas of ocean sciences and communications. Interested applicants must submit a letter of intent prior to submitting a full proposal.

Convergence Research is a critical mechanism for solving many vexing research problems, especially those stemming from complex societal and/or scientific challenges. In this NSF Convergence Accelerator Phase I and Phase II solicitation for FY 2021, NSF seeks to support and facilitate research that advances ideas from concept to deliverables in two overall convergence research topics (tracks).

The FY 2021 NSF Convergence Accelerator consists of two tracks as follows:

  • Networked Blue Economy (Track E)
  • Trust & Authenticity in Communications Systems (Track F)

The NSF Convergence Accelerator seeks to support use-inspired research and enable the accelerated transition of that research into benefits for society through a two-phase process. Phase I awards are grants for planning and preliminary prototyping of projects that leverage basic research investments. Phase II awards are cooperative agreements for projects that build upon the Phase I efforts, leading to rapid research advances to deliver useful results and impactful solutions to society.

Successful NSF Convergence Accelerator proposals are expected to have four important characteristics: 1) convergence research approach; 2) strong, multi-organization partnerships involving researchers, users, and other stakeholders; 3) high probability of successful deliverables within a 24 month period that will ultimately benefit society, and 4) strong alignment with the track goals as described in this solicitation.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 195080

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Estimated Number of Awards: 30 to 38; 25-30 Phase I Awards made as standard grants and 5-8 Phase II Awards made as cooperative agreements.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Anticipated funding is $22,000,000, pending availability of funds, to support Phase I awards in FY 2021. Proposers may request up to $750,000 for Phase I.

Phase II awards depend on the availability of funds and the number of Phase II awards. Phase II proposals may request up to $3,000,000 for year 1 and up to $5,000,000 in total for the 24 month Phase II project.

Term of Contract:

Phase I awards may receive funding for 12 months duration, of which nine months includes intense hands-on activities, centering around the Program’s innovation curriculum (for additional details regarding the innovation curriculum refer to section V.A.), and three months of other activities such as participation in the NSF Convergence Accelerator Pitch Presentations and Expo.

Phase II awards may be for 24 months. Phase II proposals must clearly describe deliverables that will be produced within 24 months. Successful Phase II proposals will be funded initially for 12 months, with a second year being provided on the basis of an assessment of performance.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

All Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges), IHEs in EPSCoR jurisdictions, Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Servicing Institutions (AAPISIs) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.

Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.

For-profit organizations: U.S. commercial organizations, especially small businesses with strong capabilities in scientific or engineering research or education.

Who May Serve as PI: The PI and any co-PIs must hold an appointment at an organization that is eligible to submit as described under "Who May Submit Proposals." At least one PI or co-PI from a Phase I award must be included as a PI or co-PI on a Phase II proposal. The same individual who served as PI for the Phase I award does not have to be PI for the Phase II proposal. Any change of PI and co-PI should be fully explained in the proposal.

The Phase II teams must include partnerships critical for success and end-users (e.g., industry, Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), non-profits, government, and others), each with a specific role(s) in deliverable development and facilitating the transition of research outputs into practical uses.

Pre-Application Information:

Letter of Intent Due Date(s):
- May 05, 2021 (required for Phase I Full Proposals only) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time)

Full Proposal Deadline(s):
- June 14, 2021 - Phase I Full Proposals (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

Letters of Intent for Phase I are required and must be submitted via the NSF FastLane system, even if full proposals will be submitted via Letters of Intent for all tracks must be submitted via FastLane by 5:00 p.m. submitter's local time on the due date above. For more information, see

Convergence Research:

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Agency Contacts:
General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:
- Chaitanya K. Baru, telephone: (703) 292-2473, email:
- Lara A. Campbell, telephone: (703) 292-7049, email:
- Pradeep P. Fulay, telephone: (703) 292-2445, email:
- Linda Molnar, telephone: (703) 292-8316, email:
- Michael Pozmantier, telephone: (703) 292-4475, email:
- Christopher Sanford, telephone: (703) 292-7512, email:

For questions related to the use of FastLane or, contact:
- FastLane and Help Desk: 1-800-673-6188
- FastLane Help Desk e-mail:
- Help Desk e-mail:

For questions relating to contact: Contact Center: If the Authorized Organizational Representatives (AOR) has not received a confirmation message from within 48 hours of submission of application, please contact via telephone: 1-800-518-4726; e-mail:

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:

NSF 21-572

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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