NIST Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program – i-Axis

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce

 The NIST Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program is seeking applications from organizations with significant geospatial expertise and experience working with public safety to conduct activities that will allow first responders to rapidly and successfully incorporate new and emerging indoor mapping, tracking, navigation, and location-based services capabilities into their day-to-day operations. 

The ability to locate, track, and inform first responders while indoors under difficult conditions remains a ‘Holy Grail’ sought by the public safety community. Law enforcement officers enter buildings every day, often alone and in potential peril, without the benefits of indoor tracking. Firefighters continue to die or become seriously injured each year because they become lost, disoriented, or difficult to locate in emergency situations.

The intricately related fields of indoor mapping, localization, and navigation are all experiencing rapid growth as technology companies, network operators, and the manufacturing, service, and retail industries seek to understand where people and inventory are at any moment to deliver optimized location-based services, entertainment, or asset-tracking. Despite this growth, a solution that meets the challenging requirements of first responders has yet to emerge. 

Recognizing the challenges inherent to LBS, PSCR’s strategic investments to this point have largely focused on R&D needed to bridge the technology gaps that exist in bringing a solution for indoor mapping and tracking of first responders within reach. Simultaneously, industry is investing billions of dollars on creating an ‘internet of things’ that will enable the operation of ‘smart homes’, and ‘smart cities’, which will generate an unprecedented amount of data and information that could be useful for public safety purposes. Conceptually, this data could be thought of as a fourth dimension, or an information axis (i-axis), potentially adding an additional layer of complexity to the challenges first responders face in understanding the physical indoor environments in which they are operating. As these technologies mature, however, there is an essential question that must be addressed: How will public safety organizations utilize all of these new indoor technologies (i.e. mapping, localization, and navigation) and data sources to effectively improve their operations? 

NIST will only consider one application per applicant; however, an applicant entity may be proposed as a sub-recipient, contractor, or unfunded collaborator within applications submitted by other entities.  

  • Duke Internal Deadline: September 10, 2018
  • Sponsor Deadline: October 19, 2018

If the internal deadline has passed and you are interested in this opportunity, please email Anastasia Maddox at to find out if it is still open.


Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

This NOFO is open to all non-Federal entities. Eligible applicants include institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, state and local governments, Indian tribes, hospitals, foreign public entities, and foreign governments. Please note that individuals and unincorporated sole proprietors are not considered “non-Federal entities” and are not eligible to apply under this NOFO. Although Federal entities are not eligible to receive funding under this NOFO, they may participate as unfunded collaborators.



Amount Description

In FY2019, NIST anticipates up to $600,000 may be available to fund a single award with project performance period of up to three (3) years.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* Project summary - 2 to 4 pages
* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code ILN)

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here:

Internal Deadline

September 10, 2018

External Deadline

October 19, 2018