The Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines, program catalyzes and fosters innovation ecosystems across the U.S. to:
The NSF Engines program uniquely harnesses the nation’s science and technology research and development enterprise and regional-level resources. NSF Engines can catalyze robust partnerships rooted in scientific and technological innovation to positively impact the economy within a geographic region, address societal challenges and advance national competitiveness.
Regions have two options when submitting a proposal:
The Water Council has received a Type 1 Development Award to plan a Resiliency Innovation Engine.* This will serve as the catalyst for a Type 2 award aimed at facilitating the solutions needed to enable manufacturers and utilities to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change through water and energy innovation, and to quickly scale those solutions for wider use by industry, government and other stakeholders.
The Water Council is the lead organization with core team partners MKE Tech Hub Coalition, Wisconsin Technology Council, Marquette University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Madison Region Economic Partnership, Rockwell Automation and Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity.
Here is a list of our initial additional partners. To inquire about becoming a partner, contact Stacy Vogel Davis.
A. O. Smith Corporation New North, Inc.
August Brown, LLC NVNG Investment Advisors, LLC
BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Inc. Sentry Equipment Corporation
Gateway Technical College STEM Forward
Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce The Business Council, Inc.
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce Urban League of Greater Madison
Midpoint Ventures UWM Research Foundation, Inc.
Milwaukee 7 Economic Development Partnership WEC Energy Group
Milwaukee Environmental Collaboration Office Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Upon completion of the Type-1 award, we will have built a unified, integrated and comprehensive water and energy resiliency engine plan:
The primary geographic area includes eastern Wisconsin from Milwaukee west to Madison and from northern Illinois to the Fox Valley and Green Bay. The secondary geographic area is the state of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is No. 1 in manufacturing workforce in the country, which contributes more than $68 billion to Wisconsin’s economy or 20% of Wisconsin’s GDP. It is also home to leading innovative water, wastewater and energy utilities that are essential to maintaining the operational continuity that our state’s manufacturers require.
To retain our value and benefit as the top manufacturing region in the nation, our industries must be equipped with the water and energy solutions they will need to address the material risks from climate change for their operations in Wisconsin and elsewhere. It is imperative that these solutions also be accessible to all manufacturers and utilities across the United States, as they provide many of the essential goods and services the world requires.
Eastern Wisconsin has a strong reputation for manufacturing, innovation and academic research excellence. Companies, utilities and researchers in the region have long been focused on solutions to better manage, measure or store water and energy.
Many resources exist in the region, but they have not been strategically aligned around the common focus of resiliency solutions. The Engine would create a wider, interconnected region centered on multiple elements of resiliency.
Some examples of the resources already available in the region include:
This grant is a two-year planning grant to prepare the region to begin implementation of the NSF Engine. Planned action steps during this time include:
At the end of two years, we will apply for an NSF Engine Launch Award, which offers up to $160 million over 10 years to support the development of diverse regional coalitions to engage in use-inspired research and development, translation of innovation to society and workforce development.
*Official title: Advancing Water & Energy Technologies for the Manufacturing & Utilities Sectors (WI, IL), Award No. 2304153