August 4, 2020

City Innovate Launches New Localized Model for Government-Public University Partnerships that Accelerate Community Impact

San Francisco, CA — Today, City Innovate announced the launch of STIR Labs, a ground-breaking program for government entities and researchers to collaborate with the community. City Innovate brings innovators to government through procurement automation to accelerate sustainable impact. STIR Labs is an awardee of the NSF EAGER grant, which awards proposals with potentially transformative research and research methodologies.

“City Innovate’s STIR Labs is a new and exciting project which will utilize a new approach for linking researchers with communities, and unlock potential benefits to researchers who gain access to personnel and resources to address pressing community needs, communities who benefit from impactful research-based solutions, and funding entities who benefit from a set of well-developed, user-inspired research ideas,” said David Corman, Director National Science Foundation.

STIR Labs curates local university-government partnerships so that local public funds are shared within the same space and reinvested in the community. STIR Labs focuses on localized government-public university partnerships, leveraging academia’s expertise in civic engagement and community impact to improve government services. The localized model advances research, increases the diversity of researchers working with communities, identifies a new funding source for research, and promotes integrative research. STIR Labs will work on critical community-facing issues during a 16-week project period, where government staff and university researchers will co-develop insights and solutions for local and state governments. City Innovate is inviting governments to apply by August 31st to join the first STIR Labs program cohort.

“STIR Labs is a model for civic innovation and local collaboration,” said Jay Nath, former Chief Innovation Officer for San Francisco and Co-CEO for City Innovate. “This program is a unique opportunity for government agencies and academic institutions to think creatively about how we can all work together to improve government to benefit residents.”

STIR Labs brings the lean startup approach to government-public university partnerships. The program is committed to increasing diversity in academia and raising the profile of our research partners. STIR Labs offers education for government and academia, including design thinking, lean project management, and procurement methodologies for research contracts. STIR Labs helps define and refine research challenges and goals with potential for continual partnership between government and research teams.

STIR Labs leverages City Innovate’s success with STIR. The STIR program has helped over 40 governments address over a hundred challenges by partnering with the most innovative govtech startups, including STIR startup Binti. Binti partnered with the San Francisco Human Services Agency and created software to streamline the foster care application process. STIR Labs aims to bring that same collaborative success to the field of academia.

In STIR’s most recent cohort, 22 governments and 39 startups developed 43 new products that solve challenges related to public safety and affordable housing services. Nearly 700 startups from over 60 cities and countries vied for a chance to work with the 22 governments for the opportunity to secure a contract.

Similarly, through STIR Labs, teams address civic challenges that empower governments to better serve their staff and constituents. The program helps transform research needs into calls for research proposals, expand the local pool of researchers, and co-design solutions leading to meaningful community impact.

City Innovate is inviting governments from the US to apply by August 31st, 2020 to join the 1st cohort of STIR Labs. A limited number of governments will be accepted as STIR Labs is funded by Federal grants.


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About STIR Labs: STIR Labs connects researchers with government agencies and promotes integrative research by transforming how researchers and governments collaborate with the community. To learn more about STIR Labs visit: