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NSF uses problem solving as basis for community innovation investments

October 18, 2018

The life-risking delay in emergency response for rural areas, inadequate health care access in “medical deserts,” drinking water contamination, and the urgency of need for broad dissemination of information regarding natural disasters such as flooding and landslides are among the themes explored for civically-focused innovation in the latest round of competition for grants from the National Science Foundation’s Smart  & Connected Communities (SCC) program. NSF announced 13 projects involving collaborations among 35 institutions would share $22.6 million in funding to address societal challenges through the latest information and communication technologies.  

Wireless connectivity, data analytics and growing trust in the value of input from mass participatory/community science are expected to enable several  SCC-funded projects to help transform the ability to provide critical services and emergency information in underserved or vulnerable areas, whether they are located in remote or densely urban areas.  Other SCC teams are focusing on using smart city concepts and big data technologies to reduce the costs of government services and basic life needs to participate in a digital economy.

The full list of impact-oriented awards from the NSF 2018 Smart & Connected Community program is available here.