The civic technology nonprofit, CityInnovate, recently introduced a new facet of their Startup In Residence (STIR) program – STIR Labs – which will seek to connect state and local agencies with academic researchers. STIR Labs is looking for at least ten state and local government agencies to connect with their local universities to research economic recovery.
The program aims to connect local governments with local academia. The localized model is expected to advance research, increase the diversity of researchers working with communities, identify a new funding source for research, and promote integrative research.
“We hope to have researchers that reflect the community in which they work,” Susana Benavidez, director of STIR Labs, said.
STIR Labs is completely funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant – Early-Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) – which awards proposals with potentially transformative research and research methodologies.
“City Innovate’s STIR Labs is a new and exciting project which will utilize a new approach for linking researchers with communities, and unlock potential benefits to researchers who gain access to personnel and resources to address pressing community needs, communities who benefit from impactful research-based solutions, and funding entities who benefit from a set of well-developed, user-inspired research ideas,” said David Corman, director of the National Science Foundation.
Agencies can apply before August 31 to be a part of the first STIR Labs 16-week program.
“Many cities have been successful in forming partnerships, particularly what we call smart or connected cities, but they’re one-offs,” Benavidez said. “It’s not just cities trying to verbalize what their needs are, but it has to be said in a manner where a university can be like ‘Aha, yes, we have that expertise.’”