4 Entities Awarded $2M in Public-Safety Challenge
Wednesday, July 01, 2020 | Comments

Three U.S. Department of Commerce agencies announced the awardee of the $2 million Accelerate R2 Network (R2 Network) Challenge. The R2 Network Challenge connects stakeholders in the response and resilience (R2) industries, accelerating the speed at which startups and other organizations can bring innovations to the public-safety market.

The Economic Development Administration (EDA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) selected a public-private partnership to establish and operate the R2 Network, consisting of RapidSOS, ResponderCorp, Orleans Parish (Louisiana) Communication District and the Western Fire Chiefs Association.

With the state of New Hampshire serving as a key strategic partner and collaborator, the partners will form a national, free-to-use and self-sustaining platform that brings stakeholders together for a common goal: to support innovators and agencies in empowering first responders with the tools and technologies they need to stay safe and protect our communities.

The R2 Network Challenge’s $2 million includes funding contributions of $750,000 from EDA, $250,000 from the NIST Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) division, programmatic support from the FirstNet Authority and a $1 million match commitment from the public-private partnership.

“Public-private partnerships such as the R2 Network can be powerful tools, bringing together the right collaborators to create needed solutions fueled by American innovation,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan. “We look forward to the technologies to be developed through the R2 Network improving our nation’s disaster response and resilience, and keeping first responders safe.”

The challenge brings together expertise from across the Department of Commerce and stakeholders from outside the federal government. The R2 Network will be nationwide in scope, with regional innovation clusters supported by government partners and local agencies to test and pilot resources needed to adopt new technology.

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