As the Acting Under Secretary for Science and Technology, I spend a lot of time talking with our stakeholders – end users, industry partners, and other non-traditional innovators – about emerging technologies that will support efforts to better secure our nation. As DHS’s research and development arm, S&T oversees a variety of programs designed to improve safety and operational effectiveness of first responders and other members of the Homeland Security Enterprise from the federal level all the way down to the tribal and regional levels.
S&T relies heavily on our stakeholders and industry partners to help create new technologies, solutions, and knowledge products to improve responder capabilities. This requires constant communication to learn about challenges, identify technologies, evaluate technologies, or to start the process for developing solutions. I am frequently asked two questions: “How can I tell S&T about my technology needs?” and “How can my company (or lab, or university) do business with S&T?”
Answering these questions is an important part of fulfilling S&T’s mandates to learn about responder technology challenges, and find the right partners to address them. We serve as the bridge between responders and industry innovators, bringing them together for strategic conversations about how technology can help overcome public safety challenges. With this in mind, I’m pleased to announce an upcoming S&T Industry Day that will center on identifying exciting new partnership opportunities to help the responder community.
On March 23, S&T’s First Responders Group (FRG) will host the Industry Day here, in Washington D.C. This event coincides with our upcoming Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) solicitation. This year’s topics—including energy-harvesting smart fabric, emergency vehicle navigation, and roadway alerting systems—are based on direct feedback from responders of all disciplines about their technology needs. Several of these responders will attend the event to share their stories and insight in person. This is a unique opportunity for industry, academia, and our non-traditional innovation partners to learn how they can work with S&T and help develop a responder community that is more protected, connected, and fully aware.
Current responder technology manufacturers and as well as manufacturers with products that could be tweaked to meet responder needs are encouraged to attend the upcoming Industry Day. Additionally, anyone with bold ideas about new technology development for first responders is welcome to attend and learn about partnership opportunities.
This year’s FRG BAA solicitation will open in April and feature 10 topic areas, which means there will be 10 different ways for you to engage with S&T and first responders. Details about the BAA are available now on the event registration page.
S&T looks forward to this Industry Day as opportunity to connect vital members of each community with each other. We hope you’ll be able to attend.