Through a predominant public-private partnership program called Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking to understand bitcoin’s underlying technology, the blockchain.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the SBIR’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is now accepting proposals from small businesses comprising of fewer than 500 employees in at least 10 topic areas. Interestingly, the areas also cover the topics of “Applicability of Blockchain Technology to Privacy Respecting Identity Management” & “Blockchain Applications for Homeland Security Analytics”.
Presumably, the former is looking for research into providing better awareness and the know-how for identity management beyond current systems in the active directory. The other topic seeks blockchain technology to help enhance analytics done by DHS.
The S&T Directorate, in particular, commenced its SBIR program in 2014 with the objective to foster the “participation of innovative and creative small businesses” in the country among federal research programs and new innovations. Ultimately, the goal is seen as one to bring new solutions for the betterment of homeland security.
The S&T SBIR Program
The initiative is deemed as a “three-phase” program where proposals are identified and approved in the first phase, wherein the feasibility of the proposal is judged. A successful proposal due to its scientific and technical merit can fetch up to $100,000 as an award and such projects typically last up to six months in duration.
Phase 2 of the program builds on the completed project from Phase 1 and is awarded up to $750,000 while lasting up to 2 years as a project.
Phase 3, on the other hand, gains funds from other sources as the projects that made it through to the last phase are normally geared towards commercialization.
In a statement through a press release, DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology, Dr. Reginald Brothers said:
It is vitally important that we cast a wide net to find highly innovative solutions to the Nation’s homeland security challenges. We know that America’s small business are creative problem solvers and engines of innovation and we want to hear from them.
Other topic areas cover malware prediction and preemptive cyber defense measures, Internet of Things flood inundation sensors at a low cost, an emergency management project that equips first responders to a site with wearable technology that automates initial reports.
Proposals for the initiative are due by January 20, 2016. Additional details for the research program can be found here.
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