FirstNet, NIST Launch $30M Public Safety Grant Program


The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research Division (PSCR) has launched a $30 million public safety focused grant program. PSCR is a partner of FirstNet, the public safety broadband network.

The grant program is designed to accelerate research, development, production, and testing of key broadband technologies and capabilities for first responders. The grant program will be open to a range of public entities like schools, state and local governments, or tribal organizations.

Grant proposals are due February 28, 2017.

In a post on FirstNet’s blog, FirstNet’s Chief Technology Officer Jeff Bratcher and PSCR Director Dereck Orr said the goal of this grant program was to come alongside other public safety efforts underway at FirstNet and NIST to develop better technologies for first responders and solve critical problems.

Earlier this month, FirstNet also announced progress on one of its core initiatives – the broadband network. During its most recent board meeting, FirstNet said that it had a first 100 days plan in place for the forthcoming public-private partnership that will build out the first responder communications network. The plan sets forth milestones for network deployment and calls for the creation of several teams to handle budget, customer service and technology testing.

“We are now in implementation mode and stand ready to move forward on this Network for public safety,” said FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson. “The first 100 days will be critical to setting the foundation for success; we are prepared from both an operational and planning standpoint to deliver public safety the network they deserve.”