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Richard Bland College Awarded NSF Funding

U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Invests in Richard Bland College of William & Mary


The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is investing $19.6M in emerging research institutions to grow their capacity to participate in regional innovation ecosystems. Richard Bland College of William & Mary is officially one of those NSF recipients.

 “RBC’s Research & Innovation Department will receive training and support for 3 years to build more inclusive regional ecosystems and potentially connect to NSF Regional Innovation Engines,” says RBC Vice President & Chief Research & Innovation Officer.

The U.S. National Science Foundation announced the first-ever Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity (EPIIC) investment of $19.6 million to nearly 50 teams at U.S. institutions of higher education, including teams from historically Black colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions and community colleges. Each institution will receive up to $400,000 over three years. RBC has received that maximum $400k amount, one of only two colleges in Virginia to be awarded funding.

Through this investment, RBC will receive support to develop capacity and institutional knowledge to help build new partnerships, secure future external funding and tap into regional innovation ecosystems, and potentially into an NSF Regional Innovation Engine(NSF Engine) or an Economic Development Administration Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (EDA Tech Hub).

“NSF aspires to accelerate the nation’s research and innovation enterprise and empower all Americans to participate in the science- and technology-driven workforce,” said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF assistant director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP). “EPIIC reinforces NSF’s commitment to develop new, inclusive innovation ecosystems by connecting diverse networks of partners to work together to drive the expansion of key technologies — and the technology workforce — in the U.S. and in turn address pressing national, societal and geostrategic challenges.”

Launched by the TIP Directorate, EPIIC works with institutions interested in growing external partnerships and building innovation capacity.

“This funding advances not only RBC’s core mission but also its strategic priorities,” says Dr. Debbie L. Sydow, President of Richard Bland College of William & Mary. “This STEM initiative creates both inclusive and engaging learning environments that improve the quality teaching and learning at our institution.”

NSF recognizes that many institutions, including MSIs, small academic institutions and two-year institutions, stand to benefit from additional focused support for the infrastructure and resources needed to grow external partnerships and to tap into innovation ecosystems, including engaging with NSF Engines and EDA Tech Hubs.

“NSF recognizes that institutions with limited research capacities require comprehensive support to become equitable partners in their regional innovation ecosystems,” said Thyaga Nandagopal, director of TIP’s Division of Innovation and Technology Ecosystems. “This funding aims to set EPIIC awardees on level ground to seek and build lasting partnerships to tap into their innovation potential, and the capacity-building efforts will continue to provide significant innovation partnership opportunities well into the future.”

The full list of EPIIC awardees can be found on NSF’s award search webpage.



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