The Nation Science Foundation has awarded nearly $16 million to 17 teams across the country working on technology-based solutions to improve mobility and natural disaster resilience in their communities.

The Civic Innovation Challenge seeds community-based solutions to the issues of mobility—specifically traveling between affordable housing and jobs—and climate resilience to better prepare communities for natural disasters.

The challenge features two tracks with six teams tackling the mobility issue and 11 teams focusing on climate resilience.

On the mobility track, teams include:

  • A Los Angeles-based team led by the UCLA Center for Research in Engineering, working to enable bike-to-work commuting through a cloud-based mobile app.
  • A team led by the University of Arkansas in Fort Smith looking to increase access to jobs and other essential services using shared mobility services such as e-bikes and e-scooters.

On the climate-resilience track, teams include:

  • A team led by Michigan Technological University planning to improve flood hazard modeling by using remote-sensing data and citizen scientists to improve data gaps.
  • A project headed by the University of Hawai'i working to add weather stations to the area to supplement monitoring gaps while also operating workshops to increase community resilience to flood risk in coastal watersheds.

The challenge, made in partnership with the departments of Energy and Homeland Security, consisted of two stages. In the first stage, 52 teams were funded with $50,000 and given four months to plan their projects, while 17 teams were selected for stage 2 in which they could receive up to $1 million each to implement the projects in their communities within a year.

“The teams selected for Stage 2 of the competition have brought forward bold and exciting ideas for the mobility and resilience tracks in this challenge to help connect local communities to their work, school, healthcare and other public services,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, acting assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.