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PSIAP Artificial Intelligence for IoT Information (AI3) FAQs

Register now for the PSCR Artificial Intelligence for IoT Information NOFO webinar!

Apply now to the PSCR Artificial Intelligence for IoT Information funding opportunity!

Credit: NIST

Notice of Funding Opportunity - Frequently Asked Questions 


  1. How do I apply?

Applicants must submit their applications materials via The application package is available at under Funding Opportunity Number 2021-NIST-PSIAP-AI3-01.

  1. What are the application submission deadlines?

Applications must be received at no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday, July 26, 2021.

  1. What type of work will be performed under the award?

The goal of this NOFO is for the award recipient to plan and execute the AI3 Prize Competition. The Prize Administrator (PA) should seek to implement a competition for contestants to develop a platform that can use current sensor information to learn how to categorize data from unknown sensor platforms.

  1. Who is eligible to apply for this award?

Eligibility for all programs listed in this NOFO is open to U.S. non-Federal entities. Eligible applicants include: Institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations, and for-profit organizations. NIST will not be accepting proposals from foreign entities. 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.

  1. How many awards are available?

In Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), NIST anticipates funding 1 award for approximately $1,200,000 with a project performance period of up to 2 years.

  1. We are already working with NIST under a CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement). Are we eligible to apply for this grant?

Potentially: Being a CRADA partner does not, in itself, preclude you from applying to this competition, but conflicts are possible. For example, an entity cannot receive NIST funds for the same activities being performed under the CRADA. If you are a current CRADA partner and considering applying, please contact us directly to discuss your specific situation.

  1.  When will NIST announce the award recipient?

Review of Applications, selection of successful applicants, and award processing is expected to be completed by August 2021. The earliest start date for awards under this NOFO is expected to be October 2021.

  1. What’s the “unique entity identifier number”?

Applicants will need a “D-U-N-S” number, which is a free, unique identifier provided by Dun and Bradstreet. Applicants will also need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) provided by the Internal Revenue Service. 

Note, if your organization does not have these numbers, it may take some time to acquire them. Please see the Organization Applicant Registration page on the Applicants tab on

  1. Are references, citations, or bibliographies required?

No; references, citations, or bibliographies are not required.  However, if additional content is added to the application, all tables, charts, graphs, figures, maps, photos, graphics, and citations will count towards the page limits. Resumes and CVs do not count toward page limits. 

  1. Are federally funded research and development centers (FFRDC) eligible to apply?

Because of the funding instruments used to manage FFRDCs, FFRDCs are generally not eligible to apply. Interested FFRDCs should discuss this further with their Contracting Officer. FFRDCs are, however, eligible to be subcontractors to other eligible applicants.

  1.  Where can I find information about past awards?

To learn more about research and development projects funded by PSCR, visit

  1.  Can you review our technical proposal and provide comments to ensure it meets the objectives in the NOFO?

No. Applicants should refer to Section I of the PSIAP-PSRD NOFO for details about the program goals and objectives. Applicants can send questions to pscr [at] (pscr[at]nist[dot]gov) before submitting their proposal but will not receive feedback about specific questions or proposed projects.

  1. Can organizations partner together as a consortium to apply for this award?

Yes, partnering is encouraged, but there must be a primary applicant organization that, if awarded, will be legally responsible for the award.

  1.  How should we estimate travel cost to the PSCR Annual Stakeholder Meeting?

The PSCR Annual Stakeholder Meeting is always in the summer, held in the continental United States, scheduled for 3-4 days, and registration is about $300-$400 per person.

  1.  What criteria are used to evaluate applications?

Applications will be judged according to the evaluation criteria, which can be found in Section V.1 of the NOFO.

  1. If my application is selected, is all the funding given at one time or is it distributed over quarters/milestones?

Funding will be provided in accordance with the Multi-Year Funding Policy in Section II.2 of the NOFO.

  1. What expenses can be covered by the funding (travel, personnel, equipment, software, etc.)?

Information on cost allowability is available in the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards at 2 C.F.R. Part 200 (, which apply to awards in this program. 

  1.  What if my institution will be utilizing data about people, subjects, or participants during our proposed project?

Protection of human subjects is a priority of PSCR’s research and development programs. If you receive funding for a project that potentially includes research involving human subjects, or data or recordings involving human subjects (including software testing), the NIST Research Protection Office (RPO) must perform a review of your proposal as described in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. You may be asked to provide details about your proposed human subjects research; supporting documents such as consent forms; survey instruments; and IRB documentation. Before research involving human subjects may commence, it must be explicitly authorized by the NIST Grants Officer in the form of a Special Award Condition. Please see Section VI.2 of the NOFO.

NIST uses the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects, codified by the Department of Commerce at 15 C.F.R. Part 27, to define its criteria for research involving human subjects.

  1. What types of information are expected within the dataset sample? Is there a size limit?

The dataset sample should give reviewers an understanding of the categories of data that are planned for the challenge dataset, and the breadth of data contained in at least 1-2 categories.  That is, at least 1-2 categories should explicitly demonstrate multiple streams of sensor data, metadata, or any corresponding contextual information that could be used in the challenge dataset.  Although this sample is not intended to be finalized, it should give reviewers an understanding of the variety proposed data, and the applicant’s understanding of challenge requirements. The sample content must not exceed a maximum of ten (10) pages or 540 lines of text. 

Additionally, if any of the proposed data falls under research involving human subjects, appropriate accommodations will need to be made. Please see Section VI.2 of the NOFO.

  1. Can the dataset sample be submitted via Github or a similar source code repository / version control platform?

The sample dataset can be submitted via Github or a similar source repository.  If the applicant chooses to submit via this method, their application will need to include the full link to the repository, as well as any additional credentials or authentication needed to access the files.  If the reviewers cannot access the repository using the information provided by the applicant, the dataset will be assumed to be unsubmitted, and the application will be scored accordingly.  Additionally, all files submitted via the repository must have a timestamp on or before the application deadline. Any file that displays a date after the application deadline will not be reviewed and will be considered unsubmitted.  

  1. Can I submit proposals for R&D related to artificial intelligence or IoT data?

No, this NOFO is specifically to fund a prize administrator to run the AI3 Prize Challenge. However, once the challenge is launched there will be an opportunity for teams to submit proposals to participate in the actual AI3 Prize Challenge. To stay up to date with the challenge launch, be sure to sign up for our mailing list by visiting (scroll down to Get Connected). 

  1. Is there a follow-on competition after this one? Or will there be a potential contracting opportunity for the award recipient after the award is over?


  1. I want to compete in the prize challenge. Should I apply for this award?

No. This competition is to make an award for an organization to serve as the prize administrator. It is not for vendors who want to compete in a prize challenge.

  1. Is the award recipient required to plan and facilitate the prize challenge events?

Yes, organizing the prize challenge events is one of the main activities of the prize administrator.

  1. Does the prize administrator determine the prize amount?

Applicants will propose the prize amounts in their applications. NIST will work with the selected recipient to finalize the amounts once the award is made. 


Created May 2, 2021, Updated June 1, 2021