AUSTIN, Texas — This week, hundreds of government agencies, companies, nonprofits and academic institutions have assembled for the 5th annual Smart Cities Connect Conference, held June 25-28 at the Austin Convention Center. One of the major supporters of the dialog is a federal government agency — the National Science Foundation (NSF).
And in an opening keynote, Erwin Gianchandani, deputy assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) for NSF, discussed how the agency is working with cities and advancing the greater gov tech movement.
In 2016 alone, NSF invested more than $35 million in funding for local government-focused initiatives ranging from US Ignite ($10 million) to the Smart and Connected Communities program ($8 million). These research dollars are used to support next-generation research, infrastructure and technology testing.
For agencies interesting in learning more, the research and funding areas are:
The SCC program is a major initiative designed to answer vital research questions and foster partnerships to improve the way cities function and citizens live. The NSF website specifies that outside of education and partnerships, the agency's aim is to catalyze:
Early this year, the Smart Cities and Communities Task Force partnered with several other federal agencies to release the Smart Cities and Community Federal Strategic Plan Draft, a framework for catalyzing smart cities advancement at the federal level.
Gianchandani's keynote concluded with a call to action for cities — they should take a proactive approach in research and testing next-gen technologies by partnering with local universities to tap into their expertise, as well as participate in the work being done at the federal level through the Smart and Connected Communities program.
Agencies interesting in learning more can e-mail NSF directly at SCCquestions@nsf.gov.
Dustin Haisler is the Chief Innovation Officer of Government Technology's parent company e.Republic. Previously the finance director and later CIO for Manor, Texas, a small city outside Austin, Haisler quickly built a track record and reputation as an early innovator in civic tech. As Chief Innovation Officer, Haisler has a strategic role to help shape the company’s products, services and future direction. Primarily, he leads e.Republic Labs, a market connector created as an ecosystem to educate, accelerate and ultimately scale technology innovation within the public sector. Read his full bio.