Saturday, February 11, 2012

NIST Announces Pilot Projects

NIST’s new $10 million competition will help to accelerate the progress needed to improve systems for interoperable trusted online credentials that go beyond using simple IDs and passwords. The competition managed by the NIST National Program Office for the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is a White House initiative that will work collaboratively with the private sector, advocacy groups, public sector agencies, and others to improve the privacy, security, and convenience of online transactions.

NSTIC will address the challenges through a user-centric “Identity Ecosystem” that will operate as an online environment where individuals and organizations will be able to trust each other because they follow agreed upon standards to obtain and authenticate digital identities and the digital identities of devices.

Today, the challenges in cyberspace are to:

• Make certain that people, organizations, and businesses are who they say they are online
• Deal with the dozens of different usernames and passwords used
• Not to disclose sensitive information

There are several barriers that prevent identity solutions from being widely deployed in the marketplace. These include the need for technical standards, clarification concerning liabilities when something goes wrong, no common standards for privacy protection and data reuse, and issues with ease of use for some strong authentication technologies. NIST seeks proposals that address some or all of these challenges and barriers.

NIST anticipates funding five to eight pilot projects for up to two years in the range of approximately $1,250,000 million to $2,000,000 million per year. To apply for funding, proposers must be institutions of higher education, hospitals, non-profit organizations, commercial organizations, or state, local, or Indian tribal governments. An eligible organization may work individually, work as a sub-contractor, or work on contracts with others in a project proposal.

The deadline for proposals is March 7, 2012. On February 15, 2012, NIST will host a proposer’s conference at the Department of Commerce in Washington D.C. The conference will offer guidance on preparing proposals, explain criteria to be used in making awards, and answer questions.

The proposer conference will include a live web cast at and participants will also be able to ask questions through Twitter and be able to tweet using hashtag, #NSTIC. To pre-register for the web cast, go to

The proposal for the “NSTIC Pilot Grant Program (2012-NIST-NSTIC-01) is available at For more details, email Dr. Barbara Cuthill at