A National Research and Action Competition

The Civic Innovation Challenge is a multi-agency, federal government research and action competition that aims to fund ready-to-implement, research-based pilot projects that have the potential for scalable, sustainable, and transferable impact on community-identified priorities.

Learn more about the teams supported in Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the Civic Innovation Challenge:

What’s the Process?

Teams of researchers and civic partners applied to one of two tracks:



Offering Better Mobility Options to Solve the Spatial Mismatch Between Housing Affordability and Jobs


Equipping Communities for Greater Preparedness and Resilience to Natural Disasters

Teams’ proposals in Stage 1 and Stage 2 were reviewed by civic leaders and researchers in NSF-led review panels. NSF, DOE, and DHS jointly selected 52 teams to receive Stage 1 planning grants. From this cohort, 17 teams were down selected for Stage 2 and received full awards of up to $1 million to implement their pilot projects in communities across the country.

 Stage 1:
Planning Grants
Stage 2:
Full Awards
Award SizeUp to $50KUp to $1M
No. of AwardsUp to 50Up to 20
Length of Stage6 Months12 Months

The 17 Stage 2 Awardees are now gathering in a collaborative cohort called a “Community of Practice” to support each other as their projects are implemented. To stay updated, use the form at the bottom of this page to register for the Civic Innovation Challenge newsletter.