Phase 1 FAQ

At least one team member must register on the FRST Portal (Coming Soon) to submit project deliverables. It is advised that all team members register so that they can all receive the benefits of being a part of the FRST community: resources, collaboration, events, and more.

The FRST Portal (Coming Soon) is a website devoted to the FRST community. In addition to hosting Challenge submissions, the Portal will be a clearinghouse for educational materials and other Challenge specific information.

FRSTchallenge.com is an outward facing information source about details of the competition with important dates, marketing materials, winner announcements, etc. The FRST Portal is a website to be used by competitors to submit materials and enhance their competitive experience.

The official rules and Phase 1 requirements will be released very soon. See unofficial submission requirements below.

Partnerships can be made through the FRST portal, outside relationships, or you can reach out to the FRST Challenge team to help your team find a match.

At least one representative from each team must register for the FRST Challenge by completing the online registration form on the FRST Challenge Community Portal (Coming Soon).

All FRST Challenge submissions must be made via the FRST Challenge Community Portal before the corresponding due date for each phase. Submissions will not be accepted via email.

Keep an eye on your email inbox for messages from the FRST Challenge and visit the Events section of the FRST Challenge Community Portal for upcoming events

The official rules are under review by the team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Once we have clearance, they will be released on this website. The following guidelines will help teams start their work while they await the formal rules.

For Phase 1, teams must submit a concept paper that is a maximum of 15 pages and less than 25 MB in size. The whitepaper must contain the following sections:

1. A cover page (1 page max) that lists the following:

a. Contestant’s Name or Team Name, a list of team members, the team’s location (or primary place of business), and a team logo.

i. Note: If a team does not have a logo, they can simply use their team name. The logo will be used on the FRST Community Portal Team page and in announcements of winners.

b. An Official Team Representative and their preferred contact information (including email, phone, and physical mailing address)

c. A brief description (500 words maximum) of the unique aspects of the contestant’s approach and the potential impact that the proposed approach could have in achieving the goals of the FRST Challenge. Do not include proprietary or sensitive information in this summary.

2. Project Description (7 Pages Max)

a. Teams must explain how they are working towards the goal of 1-meter location tracking accuracy in a 3D space, with consideration to the use cases of first responders

b. Teams should describe their approach to developing their technology, and how it will act as a practical and effective solution for first responders.

c. When describing your approach, you may address topics such ease of deployment, robustness/ruggedization, user experience/design, cost feasibility, extensibility and interoperability, and the potential for commercialization. While you may not know all of this information as you begin the competition, we want to know you will be considering these as you mature your prototype over the course of the whole competition.

3. Key Team Members (2 Pages Max)

a. Please list key team members and a short biography that covers their qualifications to developing a FRST Challenge solution.

b. List any additional roles or expertise that the team is looking to recruit. We expect teams may grow over the course of the competition. If you don’t have all the skills you need, identify the gaps and how you will address them.

4. First Responder Partner (2 Pages Max)

a. Each team is required to partner with a minimum of one First Responder organization throughout the competition. This will help ensure you are considering how First Responders work and will use your technology. You must explain how you plan to work with your first responder partner(s). Beginning in Phase 2, prize funds are set aside for the first responder on each winning team.

b. Provide a point of contact and a description of the relationship with your team’s First Responder partner agency, and how you will actively collaborate throughout the competition.

5. Public Abstract (500 – 1,000 words)

a. Provide a public-facing description of your team’s approach that includes any information from the above sections. Do not include any proprietary information, as this section will be shared on the FRST Challenge Community Portal, which includes other competitors and other members of the competition community.

  • All materials submitted should conform to the specific guidelines provided for each phase.
  • Each submission must be in English.
  • Eligible formats for the evaluation of Phases 2-5 are applications (software), hardware, and text files (e.g., .docx, .pdf). Submissions of any required videos for evaluation must be in .mp4 format.
  • Except where otherwise noted, all document submissions must use one-inch margins on 8.5 by 11-inch paper (215.9 by 279.4 mm) (“US Letter”) with a minimum font size of 11-points and single-line spacing. Diagrams and images may use fonts no smaller than 9-points.

Competition FAQ

Every team must have at least one member who is defined as a U.S.-based individual or private entity:

  • Individual: a person age 18 or older at time of entry and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories.
  • Private Entity: a company, institution, or other organization that is incorporated in and maintains a primary place of business in the United States or its territories.

Teams are not eliminated if they are not deemed prize winners in the first two phases. Teams who do not win prize money in Phase 1 may continue in the challenge and enter Phase 2 and/or Phase 3. However, only some teams will be invited to Phases 4 and 5, as there is limited availability for in-person testing.

Yes, individual participants may join existing teams, or new teams may enter the competition for Phase 2 or 3 without having participated in the earlier phases. In fact, we anticipate that many early-round teams’ solutions may be missing certain key components or technologies to be a latter-phase holistic solution. Because of this, is our intention to fully encourage new entrants and team re-assignment during the first three phases. 

Phases 4 and 5 are invite-only for our finalist teams.

Participants can initially register as individuals and use the challenge website to find teammates. Team rosters won’t be locked, so there is plenty of time to find collaborators.
While many applications come to mind for firefighters, this technology could be used by any public safety agency – fire, police, EMS, or other first responders.

Support for this research comes from award 70NANB21H022 of the Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program (PSIAP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division. The PSIAP utilizes grants and cooperative agreements to stimulate critical R&D for public safety communications technology and provide access to cutting-edge technologies and applications that will enable responders to better carry out their mission to protect lives and property. For more information, visit pscr.gov

The competition has travel funds set aside for teams who are selected for the live field testing in Phases 4 and 5.

Submissions to this competition may utilize any technology they require; however, teams should consider practicality, cost, and durability (relative to first responder budgets and scenarios) in their designs.

Phases 1-3 require whitepapers and proof-of-concept videos, whereas Phases 4 and 5 are extended to allow more time for solution building, testing, and iteration.

Prize winners will be invited to share their innovations at the 2022 PSCR Stakeholder Conference.

Yes. Precautions will be taken to avoid conflicts of interest in both the submission review and judging processes.