We at the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) are investing in science-driven solutions to address the climate crisis and better understand how disparities in access to goods and services are impacting national resilience and the ability of the country to keep moving forward. Because the two are connected. Extreme weather disasters and hard-to-predict shifting weather patterns are leading to increasing wildfires, droughts, floods, and historic temperature warnings across the planet. Our communities are stressed and in many cases are in perpetual recovery mode; meanwhile, citizens face barriers in areas of food, housing, workforce training, transportation, and social services, which makes it difficult to adapt to current and emerging threats. It can be a vicious cycle, and as these problems persist, there is urgency to act now—to increase national resilience, to expand innovations in equity, and boost our collective economic, health, and security well-being.
This is why we are joining federal research partners from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to launch the next round of the Civic Innovation Challenge (CIVIC 2022), a research, design and implementation competition designed to help regions build resilience and improve quality of life.
CIVIC 2022 advances priorities for federal agencies to listen to the science and build multi-disciplinary coalitions with stakeholders from state, local, and tribal governments. Following the science is S&T’s mission and doing the science . . . that’s our job. We are up for this challenge. Through this partnership, we aim to equip community leaders with real-world solutions that bolster pre-disaster readiness, enhance climate adaption and mitigation efforts, and increase access to essential resources and services.
CIVIC 2022 will focus on research projects that can get underway quickly, are ready for piloting in and with communities, and can be delivered and evaluated within 12 months. With guidance from S&T, NSF, and DOE and through cross-sector collaboration and information sharing, state and local stakeholders will ideally demonstrate solutions that are scalable and sustainable both within the partnering community and have aspects that are transferrable nationwide.
CIVIC 2022 is comprised of two tracks: (A) Living in a changing climate: pre-disaster action around adaptation, resilience, and mitigation; and (B) Bridging the gap between essential resources and services and community needs. We are seeking out collaborations and proposals that reflect these principles:
- Faster-paced R&D projects that enable data-driven, research-informed community solutions.
- Research-to-innovation pipelines that foster partnerships between federal agencies with common priorities, including the use of a community living lab or sandbox to deploy technologies and new approaches.
- Transformative projects through cross-sector collaboration, featuring activities like boot camps for community and university teams to strengthen their projects and communities-of-practice for specific domains to facilitate knowledge sharing, requirements. and tangible ideas.
With a focus on basic, emerging, and operational research, underpinned by cooperation and leadership, CIVIC 2022 exemplifies how S&T is targeting investment where the needs are greatest, achieving more equitable outcomes and withstanding the shocks and stresses of a changing climate. Research teams may elect to engage their local first responder, critical infrastructure, and healthcare community as well as S&T’s vast research and development network of Centers of Excellence, National Labs and our Silicon Valley Innovation Program, which regularly engages the innovation community across the country.
The discoveries and solutions generated by this effort will help save lives and enhance resilience for communities across the country.
Visit https://nsfcivicinnovation.org for more information on this unique opportunity and upcoming outreach events. Also follow S&T’s social Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram feeds @DHSSciTech as well as @NSFCIVIC on Twitter.