NSF Has Awarded Over $53 million for 6G Research in the US

June 5, 2023

Written by Caio Castro
CATEGORY: Exclusives
TAGS: 6G, USA, research, NSF

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded more than $53 million for 6G research over the past six years. The bulk of the investments took place after 2020 – when 6G studies and white papers started to spring globally.

This is what NSF records analysed by 6GWorld have shown. The documents break down several details from awards, such as project abstracts, amount funded, and institutions benefited.

The database encompasses information between 2019 and 2023; the analysis was carried out in May 2023 (more about the methodology at the end of the article).

And the Award Goes To…

Thus far, the NSF has issued 90 awards for 81 projects – some have more than one institution participating in research.

One was issued in 2017, and another in 2019. After the pandemic, the numbers started to rise. When it comes to the total amount dedicated to 6G research, the scenario stays similar: funding grew from 2020 onwards (see the graph below).

According to the NSF’s latest federal budget request, the agency estimates investing $161.3 million in advanced wireless research this year, including studies about 5G. The budget may increase to $179 million in 2024.

The NSF granted most of the awards to universities in California – the state tops the ranking of awards issued. Florida is the runner-up, with eight grants. Massachusetts, Indiana, and New York follow.

The scenario changes when it comes to the total amount granted. From this metric, Ohio received the most significant sum, while California, Massachusetts, New York, and Florida joined the top five.

There is one twist, however. All of Ohio’s awards went to one university (the Ohio State University). The other states had at least two institutions receiving funding.

The total amount awarded in this analysis still does not top the European Union initiative Horizon Europe’s investments in 6G specifically. However, it surpasses other countries’ individual funding – overall, the United Kingdom, for example, has spent $36.6 million in 6G research so far.

The next part of the series will break down universities and institutions that have received awards. The last part will focus on the projects.


The data was gathered and analysed in May 2023 and downloaded from NSF’s official website. For this study, 6GWorld considered only projects explicitly mentioning 6G as the inspiration or beneficiary of research in the abstract.

The data was then submitted to a visualisation software (Tableau) for further understanding of the information.

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