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The U.S. National Science Foundation is investing $9.75 million to advance novel solutions for complex societal and economic challenges inspired by biological systems. NSF’s investment awards 15 multidisciplinary teams to Phase 1 of the NSF Convergence Accelerator‘s Track M: Bio-Inspired Design Innovations.  

The track leverages the understanding of living systems and utilizes expertise spanning scientists, engineers and practitioners to inspire novel approaches and technologies that reduce environmental deterioration and mitigate challenges related to infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and food production, human health and more. 

“Research in bio-inspired design has the potential to yield transformative solutions to complex challenges,” said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF assistant director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP). “With this investment, NSF is pleased to accelerate new concepts, tools, technologies and approaches that will positively impact the nation in a range of areas, from environmental preservation to advanced manufacturing and human health.” 

Over the next nine months, each Phase 1 team will refine their initial idea into a proof of concept, identify team members and partners, and actively participate in the Convergence Accelerator’s Phase 1 innovation curriculum. This curriculum encompasses crucial fundamentals in human-centered design, team science, use-inspired research, early-state prototyping, and effective communication, storytelling and pitching. As Phase 1 concludes, the teams will participate in a formal Phase 2 proposal and pitch to demonstrate the viability of their solutions. Teams selected for Phase

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