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NIST Solicits Proposals for 2013 Grants to Advance Trusted Identities in Cyberspace

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced a new competition for grants to create pilot projects for online secure identity systems that advance the vision of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). The goal of the grant program is to accelerate progress toward improved systems for interoperable, secure, privacy-enhancing trusted online credentials that go beyond simple user IDs and passwords.

NSTIC is a White House initiative to work collaboratively with the private sector, advocacy groups, public-sector agencies and others to improve the privacy, security, and convenience of online transactions.*

NIST anticipates making multiple awards in the range of approximately $1.25 million to $2 million per year, per project, for up to two years, subject to the availability of funds. (NIST will consider proposals with lower funding amounts.) The deadline for submitting initial proposals is 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, March 5, 2013.

"Our goal is to pilot solutions that can demonstrate material advances in identity and authentication and build a stronger foundation for the Identity Ecosystem," says Jeremy Grant, NIST's senior executive advisor for identity management. "We will build on the momentum gained with the successful 2012 launch of our first five pilots and the establishment of the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group."

According to Grant, the 2012 pilot projects** already are addressing known barriers to the development of an Identity Ecosystem—where individuals, businesses and other organizations can have greater trust and security as they conduct sensitive transactions online. The pilots are helping to spur development of a marketplace for trusted identity solutions online, and represent various industries, including financial and government services, health care and online learning.

Like the existing pilots, the new pilots should support NSTIC Guiding Principles that identity solutions will be privacy-enhancing and voluntary, secure and resilient, interoperable, and cost-effective and easy-to-use. They should demonstrate solutions, models and frameworks that are either new or not widely adopted in the marketplace today.

For full details on the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace Pilots Cooperative Agreement Program, including eligibility, requirements and selection criteria, see the notice of Federal Funding Opportunity at under FFO number 2013-NIST-NSTIC-01. Go to (link removed; no longer active)

The Identity Ecosystem Steering Group brings together private sector firms, advocacy groups, public sector agencies, and other organizations to improve the processes by which online transactions are conducted. It is holding a plenary, Feb. 5-7, 2013, at the Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, Ariz. You can find the agenda and instructions for remote participation online.

On Feb. 14, 2013,NIST will host a pilot applicants' conference from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time at its Gaithersburg, Md., headquarters and via webcast. In-person attendees must register in advance to gain access to the NIST campus. Visit for registration and webcast details.

Potential applicants will receive guidance on preparing proposals, hear about the criteria to be used in making awards, and have the opportunity to ask questions. Questions may also be asked through Twitter using the event hashtag, #NSTIC.

Details on the webcast address and registration information for the plenary are available online. Additional information about NSTIC and upcoming related events is available at:

*A copy of the full text of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace signed by President Obama in April 2011 is available at:
** For more on the 2012 NSTIC pilot program grants, see
Released February 6, 2013, Updated January 24, 2023