May 2022 NIST Congressional and Legislative Affairs Constituent Newsletter


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NIST Congressional and
Legislative Affairs

Constituent Newsletter  – May 2022

Recent News

Dr. Laurie Locascio Confirmed as the 17th NIST Director


Laurie E. Locascio was sworn in on April 19th as the fourth Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and the 17th director of NIST by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. As one of the nation’s oldest physical science laboratories, NIST conducts research and standards development activities that support innovation in a wide array of disciplines, including cybersecurity, manufacturing, health care, greenhouse gas measurement, and quantum physics and computing. Dr. Locascio was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 7, 2022.

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U.S. Department of Commerce Appoints 27 Members to National AI Advisory Committee

On April 14th, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the appointment of 27 experts to the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC), which will advise the President and the National AI Initiative Office on a range of issues related to artificial intelligence (AI). 

The appointments are the first for the recently established committee, created in response to the National AI Initiative Act of 2020. The initiative directs the NAIAC to provide recommendations on topics including the current state of U.S. AI competitiveness, the state of science around AI, and AI workforce issues.

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NIST and NSF Award More Than $7.6 Million to Support Disaster Resilience Research

NIST and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have awarded more than $7.6 million in grants to fund research that will improve the ability of buildings, infrastructure and communities to hold strong against natural hazards. The agencies are funding 20 projects to be conducted across 24 institutions through the Disaster Resilience Research Grant (DRRG) program, which they manage together. 

To identify the grant recipients, panels of reviewers with expertise in wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires, earthquakes, windstorms or community resilience assessed 260 applications.

Read more about the 20 selected research projects, including the eight funded by NIST.


Funding Opportunities

NIST Launches Prize Challenge to Improve Unmanned Aircraft in Indoor Search and Rescue Scenarios

NIST is launching a new prize competition series to advance the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) by first responders for indoor search and rescue operations. This is the sixth prize competition aimed at advancing the use of unmanned aircraft systems indoors for first responder situational awareness.

In the First Responder UAS Indoor Challenge, competitors will design, build and fly a cost-effective, easily flyable drone solution to help search and rescue teams gain better situational awareness prior to entering a building. Competitors will tackle difficulties in operating UAS indoors where GPS is unavailable, lighting is limited or structural integrity is compromised. The competition will be accepting entries beginning April 27, 2022, with multiple stages running through June 2023. 

The First Responder UAS Indoor Challenge is encouraging all drone enthusiasts to bring their ideas to this competition. To learn about eligibility requirements, visit, and for additional information about the challenge and to register, visit the challenge website.



PSCR Portfolios Overview Webinar

NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division is hosting a webinar on May 18, 2022 at 11 a.m. MT. During the “Pecha Kucha Portfolios Overview” webinar, PSCR’s Portfolio Leads will discuss the public safety communications technology projects housed within each portfolio. Additionally, they will highlight which On-Demand sessions registrants can watch, and which in-person sessions registrants can attend, at this year's in-person Public Safety Broadband Stakeholder Meeting. More information and webinar registration is available here.


NIST's NCCoE will host an Interactive Virtual Workshop on Exploring Solutions for the Cybersecurity of Genomic Data

NIST’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence will host a workshop on genomic data cybersecurity on May 18 and 19, 1-3:30pm. The goal of the workshop is to examine approaches to safeguard genomic data that could be incorporated into future NIST guidance to facilitate broad adoption. The workshop will feature genomic and cybersecurity experts from academia, industry, and government and provide an opportunity for audience participation. More information and registration is available here.