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NSF Program Hopes to Rev Nation's Innovation 'Engines'

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The NSF Regional Innovation Engines initiative will offer $160 million over 10 years to each of five regions hoping to create their own versions of Silicon Valley.

Credit: akindo/istockphoto

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has launched a funding program to help communities outside premier innovation hubs establish new companies and well-paying jobs from local research.

The Regional Innovation Engines program will grant $160 million over a decade to each of five regions aspiring to create Silicon Valley-like innovation centers.

Experts say a  barometer of success will be whether local companies can find enough resources to thrive without moving to more prosperous areas.

"Rather than simply funding the best science, [NSF is] also looking to support those activities with the potential to produce significant economic activity in those regions," said Deborah Altenburg of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

NSF said the initiative will be the flagship program of its new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships.

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