Who We Are
Since 2002, NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research Program (PSCR) has worked to drive innovation and advance public safety communication technologies through cutting-edge Research and Development (R&D). PSCR works directly with first responders and the solver community to address public safety’s urgent need to access the same broadband communications and state-of-the-art technologies that consumers on commercial networks now expect.
Pulling the Future Forward
In February 2012, the enactment of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act marked an unparalleled push toward next-generation technologies for public safety. The legislation contained landmark provisions for the development and build out of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), a dedicated, interoperable network for emergency responders. The Public Safety Trust Fund (PSTF) was established to support the design and implementation of the Network. The Act charged NIST with utilizing up to $300 million of PSTF allocations to establish an R&D program to support the development and deployment of NPSBN. PSCR established the Innovation Accelerator Program to drive R&D and transform public safety communications capabilities.
to inform R&D
R&D funding to
and testing of key public
safety broadband technologies
pool expertise &
Strength in Community Partnerships
PSCR's core communities and partnerships are fundamental to the success of the program. PSCR relies on its collaboration with public safety practitioners — fire, police, and EMS, industry, academia, and local, state, and Federal agencies to guide R&D initiatives. PSCR works to continuously engage these communities and communicate R&D progress and results, regularly through outreach events, conferences, and reports.
Approach to R&D
PSCR uses a five-step practitioner driven approach to support technology advancements and validation processes:
- Requirements – Gathering and defining public safety’s unique needs
- Specifications/Standards – Developing quantitative requirements and open standards
- Measurement and Data – Developing and implementing measurement tools and capabilities, collecting and analyzing measurement and test data, and dissemination of knowledge and data to public safety stakeholders and the general public
- Transition – Promoting adoption of standards and standardized equipment through outreach, policy, tools, technical assistance, and grant guidance
- Lessons Learned – Identifying issues from transitions that can be fed back into the process