NSF 2026 is one of the Foundation's 10 Big Ideas. It will invest in bold foundational research questions that are large in scope, innovative in character, originate outside any particular NSF directorate, and require a long-term commitment. NSF 2026 will cross boundaries in innovative ways, fill recognized gaps, or take advantage of new opportunities. This Big Idea is framed around the year 2026 in order to tie into the Nation's 250th anniversary. It will ensure continuous exploration at the frontiers and risk-taking in areas that might not fit inside the "box" of any particular NSF program.
NSF 2026 invites the community to help set the Foundation's long term STEM research and education agenda by participating in the NSF 2026 Idea Machine, a prize competition to identify new directions for future research. Key points about the Idea Machine:
- Entrants suggest "grand challenge" questions for future research, first in narrative form and then a subset via video pitches.
- The public will have the opportunity to weigh in on entries.
- Authors of the best ideas will receive public recognition and/or cash prizes