Innovation is seen as essential to ensure better utilization of the electromagnetic spectrum and several national-level studies have highlighted the challenges and opportunities therein. For example, the R&D Priorities for American Leadership in Wireless Communications1 produced by the National Science and Technology Council's Wireless Spectrum R&D Interagency Working Group (WSRD) identifies three research and development priorities: (1) Pursue spectrum flexibility and agility to use multiple bands and new waveforms, (2) Improve near real-time spectrum awareness, and (3) Increase spectrum efficiency and effectiveness through secure autonomous spectrum decision making. NSF's Spectrum Innovation Initiative, described in the President's FY 2021 Budget Request for NSF2, seeks to make advancements in these three identified priorities, progress in which is critical to United States economic, science, and technology leadership.
The goal of NSF's Spectrum Innovation Initiative is to promote dynamic and agile utilization of the electromagnetic spectrum, while fostering innovation and security for all users, passive and active. Reaching this goal will require basic research, infrastructure development, new collaborations, and education and workforce development. These efforts are vital to scientific enterprises and the Industries of the Future (IotF).
NSF's Spectrum Innovation Initiative covers innovation in the following areas:
National Radio Dynamic Zones (NRDZ) - establishing new pilot test ranges and enhancing existing test facilities to allow dynamic spectrum sharing research and development for passive and active users;
National Center for Wireless Spectrum Research - connecting spectrum researchers with the nationwide challenges and growing the spectrum workforce in support of the IotF;
Spectrum Research Integrative Activities - promoting and developing the means for increased and more effective use of the spectrum for passive and active applications, especially activities of a cross-disciplinary nature;
Education and Workforce Development - increasing awareness and participation among the public and encouraging the development of a skilled and diverse workforce through education and training programs.