NIST Challenges

Crowdsourcing the best and brightest with financial awards

Other Funding
  • Program Type
    Other Funding
  • Eligibilty Requirements (Y/N)

Open Innovation focuses on outcomes and results, not on specific requirements. The problem solvers (aka Challenge participants) determine the “how” and the “solution” by using their creativity to reach the desired goal. Participants may advance their research concept, commercialize their products, or enhance their business products all while improving safety and efficiency for America’s First Responders.


PSCR's Open Innovation program focuses on advancing public safety communications by leveraging the creativity, expertise, and innovative solutions from a diverse array of contributors and collaborators across the globe through financial awards and incentive-based activities. The program looks to solve discrete and well-defined problems surrounding: Crowdsourcing, Prize & Challenge Competitions, Hack-a-thons, Data Jams, Ideation, Collaborative Iteration & Design, and Team-building Activities.

Contract Vehicles for Prize Challenges

PSCR’s Open Innovation (OI) team facilitates the use of hack-a-thons, ideation, and other crowdsourcing methods to support research for public safety communications technologies. Prize challenges are one way to use these crowdsourcing methods and PSCR is well-positioned to take advantage of this unique and innovative strategy. OI collaborates with PSCR research engineers to implement prize challenges in order to reach solvers from around the world to help us reach our goals.

The OI team plans and manages prize challenges using NIST resources, public safety partners, and contractors. OI encourages collaboration and partnerships amongst industry, small businesses, and government contractors to accomplish our goals. Contracts are awarded to assist in any or all phases of an Open Innovation opportunity, such as design, management, outreach, implementation, and evaluation.

The procurement vehicles used by PSCR OI are:

  • • GSA Schedules
  • • 8(a) Business Development Program
  • • NASA Tournament Lab
  • • Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) awarded in 2019

Future Phases

Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.

Stage 1 Winners

Let’s Get Started.

To apply or join the program, please submit an application.