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A National Research and Action Competition
Driven by Community Priorities

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. It aims to flip the community-university dynamic, inviting communities to identify civic priorities ripe for innovation and to then partner with researchers to address those priorities. 

The first iteration of CIVIC is still in progress. Learn more about the first CIVIC cohort here.

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Read the details of the current funding opportunity on

Learn about the details of the CIVIC proposal process

U.S. Department of
Homeland Security

Co-Lead and Co-Funder

U.S. National Science Foundation

Challenge Lead & Funder

U.S. Department
of Energy

Co-Lead and Co-Funder


MetroLab Network

Community-of-Practice Builder

What's the Process?

Teams of researchers and civic partners will submit proposals to one of two community-identified tracks by April 15th:


Pre-Disaster Action Around Adaptation, Resilience, and Mitigation


Bridging the Gap between Essential Resources and Services & Community Needs

Teams’ proposals will be reviewed by civic leaders and researchers in NSF-led review panels. NSF will jointly select Stage 1 planning grants, who will then have the opportunity to apply for Stage 2 full awards. Stage 2 awardees will receive $1 million and have 1 year 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

Awardees will gather in a collaborative cohort called a “Community of Practice” to support each other as their projects are implemented.