VT-ARC is proud to receive a Phase 1 award from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Convergence Accelerator Program and join the 2022 Cohort. On December 13, 2022, the NSF Convergence Accelerator announced 16 Phase 1 awards to multidisciplinary teams addressing Food & Nutrition Security (Track J) that will confront national challenges in population health, combating climate change, and the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable by empowering youth, women, and disadvantaged communities. The VT-ARC team’s approach, “Precision Agriculture for a Resilient Vegetable Supply Amidst Climate Change” seeks to impact Food & Nutrition Security through the development of innovative technologies and training programs driven by end user experiences and perspectives. The team represents academia, industry, and government through contributions from Virginia Tech, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and Aerial Vantage, and partnerships with Dell Technologies, Virginia Western Community College, the Virginia Employment Commission, and The Office of the Governor of Virginia.
The Phase 1 award supports a nine-month planning effort to further develop the initial concept, identify new team members, participate in the innovation curriculum, and develop an initial prototype. The innovation curriculum will train the team in human-centered design, team science activities, communications and storytelling, pitch preparation, and will provide coaching and mentorship to help the team better prepare for success in the next phase. At the end of Phase 1, the team will present a formal pitch for Phase 2, with potential funding up to $5 Million for 24 months. The NSF Convergence Accelerator Program aims to address national-scale societal challenges through the convergence of innovative ideas, approaches, and technologies from a wide and diverse range of sectors and expertise in order to accelerate use-inspired research into practical application.