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NSF-funded startups and small businesses saw around 300 exits and more than $20 billion in private investments during fiscal years 2016 to 2022. *

We fund almost all areas of technology

Between fiscal years 2016 and 2020, America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF made 2,200+ awards to startups and small businesses. Each year, we fund roughly 400 companies across nearly all technology areas and market sectors (with the exception of clinical trials and schedule I controlled substances). Select a topic area below to read more about the topic, see featured Phase I and Phase II success stories, and find program director information.

Browse lists of our active Phase I and Phase II awardees, who are still completing the research outlined in their proposals, view a list of awards to combat COVID-19, and see all of the awards we've made over the last 10 years.


Advanced Manufacturing
Advanced Manufacturing: Sub-Topics
  • Building and Infrastructure (M1)
  • Carbon Sequestration (M2)
  • Cybermanufacturing (M3)
  • Distributed Manufacturing (M4)
  • Ecomanufacturing (M5)
  • Modeling and Simulation (M6)
  • Natural Resources and Critical Minerals (M7)
  • Quantum Device Manufacturing (M8)
  • Sustainable Chemical Manufacturing (M9)
  • Other Manufacturing Technologies (M10)
Advanced Materials
Advanced Materials: Sub-Topics
  • Advanced Engineering Materials (AM1)
  • Coatings and Surface Modifications (AM2)
  • Metals and Ceramics (AM3)
  • Novel Advanced Materials-based Sensors (AM4)
  • Structural and Infrastructural Materials (AM5)
  • Other Advanced Materials Technologies (AM6)
Advanced Systems for Scalable Analytics
Advanced Systems for Scalable Analytics: Sub-Topics
  • Building Analytical System for Learning from Dynamic Environments (AA1)
  • Data Mining, Machine Learning (Non-deep learning-based), and Reinforcement Learning (AA2)
  • Decision Support and Optimization (AA3)
  • Knowledge and Data Management Technologies (AA4)
  • Marketplaces for Data and Models (AA5)
  • Novel Visualization Technologies (AA6)
  • Software Technologies for Scalable Analytical Systems (AA7)
  • Other Novel Technologies (AA8)
Agricultural Technologies
Agricultural Technologies: Sub-Topics
  • Agroforestry (AG1)
  • Farming in Underserved Communities (AG2)
  • Food Waste Mitigation (AG3)
  • Harvesting Complex Systems (AG4)
  • Improved Resilience through Interspecies Interchange (AG5)
  • Nature-based Solutions (AG6)
  • Polyculture Systems (AG7)
  • Precision Agriculture (AG8)
  • Resilient Supply & Distribution (AG9)
  • Other Agricultural Technologies (AG10)
Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence: Sub-Topics
  • Cognitive Science-based Technologies (AI1)
  • Computer Vision Based AI Technologies (AI2)
  • Conversational AI Technologies (AI3)
  • Language-Based AI Technologies (AI4)
  • Novel AI Hardware Technologies (e.g. Neuromorphic Computing, High-performance Technologies for AI, Smart and Secure Edge Devices, etc.) (AI5)
  • Sustainable AI Technologies for Low Resource Environments (AI6)
  • Technologies for Trustworthy AI (safe, fair, transparent, privacy-preserving, explainable, and/or secure) (AI7)
  • Other Novel Technologies (AI8)
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Augmented and Virtual Reality: Sub-Topics
  • Audio Augmentation and Interfaces (AV1)
  • Computation and Data integration (AV2)
  • Projection and Display Media (AV3)
  • Tracking, Alignment, and Stabilization Technologies (AV4)
  • Wearable Technologies (AV5)
  • Other Augmented and Virtual Reality Technologies (AV6)
Biological Technologies
Biological Technologies: Sub-Topics
  • Animal Biotechnology (BT1)
  • Aquaculture (BT2)
  • Bio-Inspired Technologies (BT3)
  • Bioinstruments and Biosensors (BT4)
  • Cell and Tissue Engineering (BT5)
  • Fermentation (BT6)
  • Life Science Research Tools (BT7)
  • Microbiome and Microbial Diversity (BT8)
  • Plant Biotechnology (BT9)
  • Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering (BT10)
  • Other Biological Technologies (BT11)
Biomedical Technologies
Biomedical Technologies: Sub-Topics
  • Diagnostics (BM1)
  • Drug Delivery Methods (BM2)
  • Health in Underserved Communities (BM3)
  • Materials for Biomedical Applications (BM4)
  • Medical Imaging (BM5)
  • Monitoring Devices (BM6)
  • Women's Health (BM7)
  • Other Biomedical Technologies (BM8)
Chemical Technologies
Chemical Technologies: Sub-Topics
  • Biochemicals (CT1)
  • Catalysts, Advanced Chemicals and Materials (CT2)
  • Chemical and Environmental Sensing and Data (CT3)
  • Food Processing, Chemicals and Agriculture (CT4)
  • Green Chemicals and Chemical Alternatives (CT5)
  • Separations and Water Treatment (CT6)
  • Other Chemical Technologies (CT7)
Cloud and High-Performance Computing
Cloud and High-Performance Computing: Sub-Topics
  • Algorithms and Applications (CH1)
  • Computational Architecture (CH2)
  • Convergence of AI and Cloud/HPC (CH3)
  • Edge Computing (CH4)
  • Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (CH5)
  • In-memory Processing (CH6)
  • Interconnects (CH7)
  • Middleware (CH8)
  • Performance Monitoring (CH9)
  • Processing on Encrypted Data (CH10)
  • Processor Architecture and Design (CH11)
  • Resilience and Resource Management (CH12)
  • Other Cloud and High-Performance Computing Technologies (CH13)
Cybersecurity and Authentication
Cybersecurity and Authentication: Sub-Topics
  • Computation on Encrypted Data (CA1)
  • Cryptography, including Post-quantum Cryptography (CA2)
  • Data Privacy and Integrity (CA3)
  • Device Authentication (CA4)
  • Encryption, including Homomorphic Encryption (CA5)
  • Network and Device Security (CA6)
  • Personal Authentication (CA7)
  • Secure and Trusted Computing (CA8)
  • Secure Machine-to-Machine Communication (CA9)
  • Security of Cloud and High Performance Computing (HPC) Platforms (CA10)
  • Other Cybersecurity and Authentication Technologies (CA11)
Digital Health
Digital Health: Sub-Topics
  • Assistive, Enabling and Rehabilitative technologies (DH1)
  • Health and Biomedical informatics (DH2)
  • Health in Underserved Communities (DH3)
  • Healthcare Workflow, Economics and Delivery (DH4)
  • Medical Diagnostics and Devices (DH5)
  • Physical, Mental and Behavioral Health (DH6)
  • Other Digital Health Technologies (DH7)
Distributed Ledger
Distributed Ledger: Sub-Topics
  • Autonomous Systems and Economies, and Smart Contracts (DL1)
  • Blockchain, DAGs, and Next-Gen Protocols (DL2)
  • Convergence with Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (DL3)
  • Convergence with Internet of Things, Crowdsourcing and Crowdsensing (DL4)
  • Cryptography, Security, and Cybersecurity (DL5)
  • Digital Assets (DL6)
  • Distributed Consensus and Fault Tolerance Mechanisms (DL7)
  • Distributed Ledger in Edge and Cloud Computing (DL8)
  • Distributed Ledger Interoperability (DL9)
  • Distributed Ledger in Network Architecture and Management (DL10)
  • Financial Technologies (DL11)
  • Human-to-Technology Interfaces and Decentralized Applications (dApps) (DL12)
  • Scalability Solutions and Accumulators (DL13)
  • Trusted Identity and Identity Management (DL14)
  • Other Distributed Ledger Technologies (DL15)
Energy Technologies
Energy Technologies: Sub-Topics
  • Advanced Nuclear Energy Tech (EN1)
  • CO2 and Methane Conversion, Petrochemicals, Oil and Gas (EN2)
  • Directed Energy (EN3)
  • Electromagnetics (EN4)
  • Energy Efficiencies and Data Technologies (EN5)
  • Energy Production and Power Generation (EN6)
  • Energy Storage (EN7)
  • Fusion (EN8)
  • Hydrogen Technologies (EN9)
  • Renewable Energy Generation & Storage (EN10)
  • Other Energy Technologies (EN11)
Environmental Technologies
Environmental Technologies: Sub-Topics
  • Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Reversal (ET1)
  • Digital Ecosystem for the Environment (ET2)
  • Emission or Waste Reduction and the Circular Economy (ET3)
  • Environmental and Societal Impact Measurement (ET4)
  • Environmental Technologies for Achieving Sustainable Development (ET5)
  • Food, Regenerative Agriculture, and Energy (ET6)
  • Habitat Conservation, Adaptation and Restoration (ET7)
  • Social and Behavioral Science Based Environmental Technologies (ET8)
  • Sustainable Community Systems (ET9)
  • Water Treatment, Resilience, and Sanitation (ET10)
  • Other Environmental Technologies (ET11)
Human-Computer Interaction
Human-Computer Interaction: Sub-Topics
  • Analytics (HC1)
  • Conversational Interfaces (HC2)
  • Dynamic and Smart Spaces (HC3)
  • Embodied and Wearable Computing (HC4)
  • Optometry and Human Vision (HC5)
  • Tactile Technologies (HC6)
  • Technology Aids for Disabilities (HC7)
  • Other Human-Computer Interaction Technologies (HC8)
Instrumentation and Hardware Systems
Instrumentation and Hardware Systems: Sub-Topics
  • Instrumentation or Hardware Systems for Actuation, Control, and Manipulation (IH1)
  • Instrumentation or Hardware Systems for Detection and Characterization (IH2)
  • Instrumentation or Hardware Systems for Imaging (IH3)
  • Other Instrumentation or Hardware Systems Technologies (IH4)
Internet of Things
Internet of Things: Sub-Topics
  • IoT Communications (I1)
  • IoT Integrated Systems (I2)
  • IoT Sensors and Actuators (I3)
  • Networking (I4)
  • Other IoT Technologies (I5)
Learning and Cognition Technologies
Learning and Cognition Technologies: Sub-Topics
  • Asynchronous and Remote Learning (LC1)
  • Collaborative Networking (LC2)
  • Digital Learning (LC3)
  • Learning and Workforce Development (LC4)
  • Learning Disabilities and Difficulties (LC5)
  • Learning Modalities (LC6)
  • Mental Health Assessment and Support (LC7)
  • Neuroscience-based Technologies (LC8)
  • Scalable Educational Enterprise Systems (LC9)
  • Statistical and Heuristic Analysis (LC10)
  • Other Learning and Cognition Technologies (LC11)
Medical Devices
Medical Devices: Sub-Topics
  • General Medical Devices (MD1)
  • Implantables or Procedures (MD2)
  • Materials, Processes, Prototyping Methods or Enablers (MD3)
  • Monitoring or Instrumentation (MD4)
  • Rehabilitation (MD5)
  • Wearables and External Sensors (MD6)
  • Women's Health (MD7)
Mobility: Sub-Topics
  • Aviation (MO1)
  • Behavioral Transitions (MO2)
  • Hypersonic (MO3)
  • Infrastructure and Flow (MO4)
  • Marine (MO5)
  • Personal Transportation (MO6)
  • Resiliency and Sustainability (MO7)
  • Other Mobility Topics (MO8)
Nanotechnology: Sub-Topics
  • Nanomanufacturing (N1)
Other Topics
Other Topics: Sub-Topics
  • Other Topics (OT1)
Pharmaceutical Technologies
Pharmaceutical Technologies: Sub-Topics
  • Drug Discovery (PT1)
  • Pharmaceutical and Biologic Manufacturing (PT2)
  • Other Pharmaceutical Technologies (PT3)
Photonics: Sub-Topics
  • Advanced Metrology and Sensors (PH1)
  • Advanced Optical Components and Systems (PH2)
  • Communications, Information, and Data Storage (PH3)
  • Lighting and Displays (PH4)
  • Photonic Devices (PH5)
  • Photonic Energy Conversion (PH6)
  • Photonic Materials (PH7)
  • Photonic Metamaterials and Plasmonics (PH8)
  • Quantum Optics and Nanophotonics (PH9)
  • Silicon Photonics and Photonic Integrated Circuits (PH10)
  • Other Photonics Technologies (PH11)
Power Management
Power Management: Sub-Topics
  • Energy Harvesting Devices and Systems (PM1)
  • Materials and Devices for Power Electronics (PM2)
  • Materials and Devices for Thermal Management (PM3)
  • Novel Power and Thermal Management Sensors (PM4)
  • Power Electronics Circuits and Control Systems (PM5)
  • Power Management Infrastructure and Smart Grid Systems (PM6)
  • Systems for Thermal Management (PM7)
  • Other Power Management Technologies (PM8)
Quantum Information Technologies
Quantum Information Technologies: Sub-Topics
  • Quantum Algorithms (QT1)
  • Quantum Communications (QT2)
  • Quantum Computing (QT3)
  • Quantum Sensing and Metrology (QT4)
  • Quantum Simulation (QT5)
  • Other Quantum Information Technologies (QT6)
Robotics: Sub-Topics
  • Human Assistive Technologies and Bio-related Robotics (R1)
  • Human-Machine Interfaces and Control/Architecture (R2)
  • Robotic Applications (R3)
  • Robotics in Agile Manufacturing, and Co-Robots (R4)
  • Underground or Underwater Robotics for Low-Visibility, Poor-Connectivity or Hidden Topography (R5)
  • Other Robotics Technologies (R6)
Semiconductors: Sub-Topics
  • Electronic Devices (S1)
  • Electronic Materials (S2)
  • Integrated Circuit Design (S3)
  • Microelectronics Packaging and Systems Integration (S4)
  • Novel Semiconductor-based Sensors (S5)
  • Processing and Metrology Technology (S6)
  • Sustainable Semiconductor Manufacturing (S7)
  • Wide Bandgap Power Devices and Materials (S8)
  • Other Semiconductor Technologies (S8)
Space: Sub-Topics
  • Extra-terrestrial Resource Extraction (SP1)
  • Geological and Geoclimatic Science Data Technologies (SP2)
  • Ground Launch Sites and Satellite Operations Technologies (SP3)
  • In-space Manufacturing Technologies (SP4)
  • Navigation and Positioning Technologies (SP5)
  • On-Orbit Technologies (SP6)
  • Remote Sensing Technologies (SP7)
  • Spacecraft Development and Manufacturing (SP8)
  • Space Technologies and Systems (SP9)
  • Space Transportation and Access (SP10)
  • Telecommunications Technologies (SP11)
  • Other Space-related Technologies (SP12)
Wireless Technologies
Wireless Technologies: Sub-Topics
  • Communication and Networking Technologies (W1)
  • Networked Sensors and Sensing (W2)
  • Wireless Devices and Components (W3)
  • Wireless Systems (W4)
  • Other Wireless Technologies (W5)

Download a searchable PDF of the full list of technology topic areas that also includes descriptions of the subtopics.

Featured Companies

We’re not interested in innovation for innovation’s sake — we back technologies that promote the social good. View a few of our many success stories.

New engine tech allows diesel engines to run on any fuel

ClearFlame Engine Technologies.

Engineering bacteria to treat skin disease


Squishy Robotics’ shape-shifting robots provide real-time data in disasters

Squishy Robotics.

(*These figures were pulled from Pitchbook from 10/01/2015 to 09/30/2022
and include companies that received NSF funding prior to 2016.)