The National Science Foundation’s vision includes the desire to lead the world in STEM innovation through inclusive partnerships. In alignment with this vision, we offer the first of several workshops that will strengthen partnerships among academic, private, and government organizations.


To maintain global leadership in Biological Science (BioSci) innovation, our nation needs strong support for basic research and new processes that improve collaborations among academic, private, and governmental BioSci communities. To meet this need, NSF is expanding their funding portfolio to support use-inspired research. Use-inspired research is defined as research and training that is intentionally co-designed by teams of scientists and engineers, practitioners, and users to address the nation's environmental, societal, and economic challenges and grow a diverse and versatile STEM workforce. These intentional collaborations will facilitate the translation of basic research to innovation, better inform evidence-based practices, and establish novel training opportunities for careers in use-inspired research and science-informed practices for the current and next generation of STEM researchers.

About the Workshop

The Directorate of Biological Sciences (BIO), the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), and the Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) at the National Science Foundation have jointly funded a workshop that aims to build new connections among key BioSci communities to successfully conduct ‘Use-inspired Research’. The workshop will consist of a series of events: two free virtual Pre-Workshop MicroLabs (for an unlimited number of participants) and an In-Person Workshop (for 120 selected participants representing diverse groups and organizations). These events are being facilitated by KnowInnovation, a company that specializes in working with science groups to accelerate scientific innovation and achieve actionable outcomes. Our events are designed to be highly interactive, discussion- and solution-based.

Participants of the workshop will co-develop structures and processes that can guide how diverse organizations support and value use-inspired science, and will explore current and future opportunities within NSF with the potential to create use-inspired tracks within the Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Office of Integrative Activities. Our vision for this workshop is to support researchers across career stages who want to take advantage of new funding and partnership opportunities within and associated with the new Technology, Innovation, and Partnership Directorate at NSF and to support government and private organizations who want their science needs to be more broadly understood and incorporated into research priorities.

Who Should Attend:

The target audience includes academic, private, and government communities representing the Science and Engineering Ecosystem as defined by the National Science Board:

  • Academic communities include public and private universities and colleges including Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions, Two-Year Colleges, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Minority Serving Institutions
  • Private organizations include businesses, associations, entrepreneurs, foundations, nonprofits, philanthropies
  • Government organizations include local, state, federal, national labs, and Tribal

Leaders and researchers from early to senior career stages, including graduate students, are encouraged to attend. Original thinkers from industry are also strongly encouraged to join this interactive event.

All participants should be willing to engage in frank disclosure and assessment of ideas in a collegial and professional fashion following an established code of conduct.

Workshop Goals:

  • Engage academic, private, and governmental communities in building awareness of the reciprocal benefits of strong partnerships that leverage and inspire innovations in basic and applied science
  • Identify shared interests, community needs, and barriers to functional partnerships
  • Transfer knowledge of successful strategies from existing use-inspired science activities
  • Develop recommendations for new structures and processes that will accelerate the translation of research to innovations that benefit society
  • Enhance and expand inclusive and experiential training opportunities to prepare a globally competitive, STEM-adaptable workforce

The ultimate anticipated outcomes of the workshop are documents that will guide and facilitate use-inspired research and science-informed practices. Documents co-created by participants and shared with STEM communities may include:

  • Training and career pathway diagrams
  • Recommendations for “use-inspired” tracks for future NSF solicitations
  • Call to action papers with recommended practices and policies across academic and non-academic organizations
  • Logic models that can support use-inspired research across STEM communities

The workshop outcomes are not meant to replace basic science investments, but rather leverage and expand successful use-inspired activities and change how academic and non-academic organizations support and value collaborative activities that accelerate innovation, prepare a workforce for diverse careers, and benefit society.

Virtual MicroLabs

The video recordings and content from Microlab 1 will be available to all registrants by Friday 4/21. Please check back on KIStorm. You can still register for Microlab 2 and have access to all the content from Microlab 1.

The MicroLabs are interactive, virtual events using a video conferencing platform. The goal of the virtual microlab sessions is to identify common needs, benefits, and challenges of academic, private, and government organizations that seek to contribute to advancing science, engineering, and education in the future. During the microlabs, you will develop ideas in collaboration with fellow participants who represent: 1) a continuum of basic to applied research experience and interest; 2) practitioners from across government and private organizations; and 3) diverse ‘users’ of scientific discoveries, innovative technology, and a versatile workforce.

Microlab Dates

  • Friday, April 14, 2023, from noon to 2 p.m. MST
  • Friday, May 12, 2023, from noon to 2 p.m. MST

Register to Attend MicroLabs

**There is no registration fee to attend the virtual MicroLabs**

Click to Register Now >>

In-Person Workshop

A three-day in-person workshop will be held June 12-14 2023. The goal of the in-person workshop is to create collaborative working groups who will publish educational and career pathways, ‘call to action’ papers, and draft future funding calls in consultation with NSF program officers, academic administrators, and non-academic partners.

Application for the In-Person participants will open April 14, 2023.

Who Should Apply

**Travel funding for all in-person participants is provided through a grant co-funded by the Directorate of Biological Sciences (BIO), the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), and the Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) at the National Science Foundation**

Application information for the In-Person Workshop is coming soon!

Applications will be reviewed by a panel using a rubric aligned with workshop goals. Participant selection notification is expected by May 12, 2023.

Apply to Attend In-Person Workshop

Click to Apply Now >>

Post-Workshop MicroLabs

The organizers will hold two virtual MicroLabs after the in-person workshop to focus on generating publications of workshop recommendations and outcomes that will be shared with our broader communities. Dates and more information on the Post-Workshop MicroLabs will be forthcoming.


If you have questions or need additional information regarding registration, please email our organizing team at


Jennifer S. Forbey (Professor of Biological Sciences, Boise State University)

Michael G. Muszynski (Associate Professor of Tropical Plant & Soil Sciences, University of Hawaii at Mānoa)