NSF Idea Machine Competition Opening Soon

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is planning to open a new prize competition effort in late August to help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in science and engineering for the next eight years.

The “NSF 2026 Idea Machine” process will launch by September to solicit ideas from the public and stakeholders. A blue-ribbon panel will help screen the proposals in the competition and develop new funding opportunities based on them. The effort builds on the NSF’s current “10 Big Ideas” that were shaped internally.

A website for the initiative has been established. NSF plans to offer public recognition, cash prizes and other awards for winning ideas.