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PSIAP - Mission Critical Voice Quality of Experience FAQs

1. How do I apply?

The application package is available at under Funding Opportunity Number 2018-NIST-PSIAP-MCVQOE. All application materials must be received via no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, August 3, 2018

For further information or questions regarding electronic applications on, contact:
Christopher Hunton
Phone: (301) 975-5718
Email: grants [at] (subject: MCV%20QOE) (grants[at]nist[dot]gov)

2. Can I submit multiple applications? 

No, NIST will only consider one application per applicant. However, an applicant entity may be proposed as a subrecipient, contractor, or unfunded collaborator within applications submitted by other entities. 

3. What kind of “outputs” are you looking for? Papers, software, prototypes? 

The intent of this funding opportunity is to generate publicly-released data sets and a QoE model that correlates impairments in the communications systems that first responders currently use across the United States to real task performance. Award recipients will help achieve this by creating test devices and infrastructure to simulate these impairments, develop a test capability/methodology for human testing, and apply these tests to a diverse pool of first responders representing multiple disciplines, regions, and demographics while performing critical tasks in realistic operating conditions. This research data will be key in quantifying the impact on real users of public safety mission critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) systems and their corresponding QoE. The data will in turn be used to compare existing land mobile radio (LMR) performance against emerging and future communications technologies (currently 4G/5G broadband) for the entire United States public safety community. 

4. This program is for a 3-year, $3,000,000 project, correct? 

A 3-year, $3,000,000 project would represent the maximum amount of funding NIST would provide to a single awardee. While we have not explicitly defined separate tracks for small, medium, and large projects, we anticipate funding a range of awards from $250,000 to $1,000,000, per year, for up to three years per award.

5. 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.

6. Are non-US entities eligible for this program?

Yes, this NOFO is open to all non-federal entities including foreign public entities and foreign governments. However, where the NOFO requires letters of commitment from public safety organizations (PSOs), those PSOs must be U.S. federal, state, or local organizations. 

7. Who owns IP rights to work funded under this program? 

Invention rights for work funded under this program are governed by the Bayh-Dole Act, 35 U.S.C. § 200 et seq. Generally, the inventor who conceives the invention (the recipient) may elect to own the invention rights, though the Federal Government receives certain use rights and there are some obligations. See section C.03 in the Department of Commerce’s Financial Assistance Standard Terms and Conditions, for more information. Please note, this FAQ is not legal advice.

8. Does this competition allow equipment purchases?

Equipment that is necessary for the execution of the proposed project is allowable, provided it is consistent with 2 CFR § 200.439 “Equipment and other capital expenditures”.

9. How can my public safety agency be involved?

A Public Safety Organization (PSO) may wish to apply for funding directly or as a with a local entity under this program, or as a subrecipient, contractor, or unfunded collaborator in partnership with another local institution. up to you on how much additional information to include.

10. What’s the timeline for applications and NIST’s response?

Key expected dates are provided below:

  • May 23, 2018 Notice of Funding Opportunity is published on
  • Aug 03, 2018 Deadline for Application Submissions
  • October - December 2018 Application Review Decisions and Selected/Not Selected Notifications to Applicants 

11. What’s the “unique entity identifier number” in section IV.3.a? 

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

12. Do references and citations count towards the page limit?

Yes, references and citations count toward the twenty-five page limit for the technical proposal. 

13. How does NIST determine whether to award a grant vs. cooperative agreement? 

Per the NOFO, this determination is made at NIST’s discretion. It is based primarily upon whether substantial involvement by NIST will be necessary during the implementation of the project.

14. What if my institution will be collecting 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 Human Subjects Protection Office (HSPO) 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. 

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. If you have further questions about NIST human subjects requirements, please contact:

15. 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.

16. Where can I find information about past awards?

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

17. Can you review our technical proposal and provide comments if they meet the R&D objectives in the NOFO?

PSCR cannot review or comment on an applicant’s proposed technical solution. Applicants should refer to Section I of the PSIAP-MCVQoE NOFO for details about the program goals and the types of research projects that the program is looking to fund. 

18. Which kinds of public safety organizations are eligible for teaming and research?

For purposes of the PSIAP-MCVQoE NOFO, eligible PSOs include U.S. federal, state, and local emergency medical services (EMS), fire services, law enforcement, and public safety communications/911 centers. Federal entities, including federal first responders, are not eligible to receive funding under this NOFO, though they may participate as unfunded collaborators.  

University or college campus police forces should not be the primary public safety partnership or the focus of your application.

Created June 19, 2018, Updated April 5, 2022