CIVIC Ideas Festival 2021

That's a wrap! Check out the results below.

The Ideas Festival was an opportunity for people across the country to identify and voice the challenges in their communities, particularly those that stand to benefit from innovative research-based solutions driven by cross-sector collaborations between local knowledge keepers, researchers, and local government.


MetroLab Network ran the CIVIC Ideas Festival 2.0 in October 2021. The ideas we received will inform the design and funding of the next Civic Innovation Challenge and will ensure that the most pressing issues identified by communities across the U.S. will generate tangible impact locally, where our communities live, work, and play.


The 83 submitters were focused on communities across the United States:​

  • +2 Virtual Communities
  • +15 Ideas Spanning Multiple Locations

Ideas focused on a variety of target populations within those geographies:​

Submitters came from a wide range of disciplines and institutions:​

And ideas, in the end, focused on the following Challenge Areas:​

Note: These categories have been provided to NSF as part of the results of the Ideas Fest, but are not necessarily the topic areas that will be funded in a future round of CIVIC.​

Equity/Disparity Reduction​


32.6% of Ideas​

Climate Resilience


28.9% of Ideas



25.3% of Ideas

Economic Development


16.9% of Ideas

Housing Access


10.8% of Ideas

Civic Engagement

civic engagement

8.4% of Ideas

Digital Divide


7.2% of Idea

Utilities Infrastructure


6% of Ideas



6% of Ideas



4.8% of Idea

Future of Work


4.8% of Ideas

Public Safety


4.8% of Ideas

Urban Planning


4.8% of Idea

Arts & Culture


2.4% of Ideas

Energy Efficiency


1.2% of Ideas

What's Next?

Your involvement in the Ideas Festival has kickstarted the process of discovering the next set of bold innovation ideas for future rounds of CIVIC. MetroLab has provided a report to NSF that provides a detailed analysis of the responses we received. NSF will use these ideas to inform which federal agencies they involve as funders in future rounds, as well as to design the structure of the competition itself. Sign up for our newsletter below and follow @NSFCIVIC on twitter to be the first to hear of any new developments in the coming months.​