The Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) program supports academe-industry partnerships, which are led by an interdisciplinary academic research team with a least one industry partner, to collaborate in building technological and human innovation capacity . This innovation capacity is intended to endure beyond the initial award. Partnerships that build the capacity to innovate are expected to be effective at innovating and able to continue to innovate. They are highly intentional about creating an environment that fosters innovation. These partnerships not only develop new technology but also foster the development of human capital that embraces a culture of change, nurtures the generation of new ideas, and considers feedback an integral part of the innovation processes. Partnership members are diverse, representing a spectrum of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. Partnership activities that drive sustained innovation include the targeted allocation of resources such as capital, time, facilities; and sharing of knowledge in a cross-organizational and interdisciplinary context.
The PFI:BIC partnership team should focus on technological innovations with potential for significant economic/societal impact. The team collaborates on research, focusing on novel applications motivated by existing research discoveries and based on a platform technology with the potential to achieve transformational change in existing service systems or to spur entirely new service systems. To attain this goal, these partnerships, which inherently require interdisciplinary research, must address what is needed to advance this technology so as to enable a "smart" service system or systems to enter into the commercialization process, succeed in the marketplace, and achieve positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes. Such advancement involves not only engineering, computer science, and other fields of science, but also an understanding of the potential interaction of the technology with customers and the broader public affected by the technology, the "socio-technical system." A full understanding of the socio-technical system will require interdisciplinary teams that include social, behavior, and/or cognitive sciences. Finally, the team should demonstrate an understanding of potential commercial applications and markets, which should contribute to guiding the project activities.
Examples  of technology applied to service systems include smart healthcare, smart cities, on-demand transportation, precision agriculture, smart infrastructure, and other technologies enabling self-service and customized service solutions.
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