Multi-Institutional Team Wins $1 Million NSF Engines Development Award

NSF Engines Development Award Graphic

NSF Engines Type 1 Development Award

A team of researchers from Georgia Tech, Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, University of Georgia, the Center for Global Health Innovation, and the Technical College System of Georgia has been awarded $1 million over the course of two years from the U.S. National Science Foundation's Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines, program. They are among the more than 40 unique teams to receive one of the first-ever NSF Engines Development Awards, which aim to help partners collaborate to create economic, societal, and technological opportunities for their regions.  

The team, “Advancing Health Equity and Diagnostic Technologies (GA) Development,” will use the award to support key institutional, corporate, government, education, and community partners to create an innovative ecosystem that will inspire, develop, and translate affordable and widely available point-of-care (POC) medical technologies to advance health equity throughout the southeast.

“The Southeastern U.S. has the lowest life expectancy in the nation, and there are significant health disparities along economic, educational, racial, and geographic divisions,” said Wilbur Lam, Georgia Tech professor, principal investigator, and innovation lead. “The team will work to build an ecosystem of partners to drive use-inspired research and technology translation in the area of POC diagnostics and wearables with strong community engagement to help address these areas and advance health equity.” 

The NSF Engines program is a transformational investment for the nation, ensuring the U.S. remains in the vanguard of competitiveness for decades to come. 

"These NSF Engines Development Awards lay the foundation for emerging hubs of innovation and potential future NSF Engines," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "These awardees are part of the fabric of NSF's vision to create opportunities everywhere and enable innovation anywhere. They will build robust regional partnerships rooted in scientific and technological innovation in every part of our nation. Through these planning awards, NSF is seeding the future for in-place innovation in communities and to grow their regional economies through research and partnerships. This will unleash ideas, talent, pathways and resources to create vibrant innovation ecosystems all across our nation." 

Led by Lam, the team aims to build an ecosystem to drive use-inspired research and technology translation for health equity and leverage relationships with underserved Georgia communities to inspire a technology roadmap and adopt new technologies.​ An annual event and comprehensive roadmap will drive sustainable technology translation, workforce development, and systemic education.  

The awardees span a broad range of states and regions, reaching geographic areas that have not fully benefited from the technology boom of the past decades. These NSF Engines Development Awards will help organizations create connections and develop their local innovation ecosystems within two years to prepare strong proposals for becoming future NSF Engines, which will each have the opportunity to receive up to $160 million.   

Launched by NSF's new Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships and authorized by the "CHIPS and Science Act of 2022," the NSF Engines program uniquely harnesses the nation's science and technology research and development enterprise and regional-level resources. NSF Engines aspire to catalyze robust partnerships to positively impact regional economies, accelerate technology development, address societal challenges, advance national competitiveness and create local, high-wage jobs. 

View a map of the NSF Engines Development Awards. More information can be found on the NSF Engines program website.