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FRST Challenge awards Phase One winners

Combined Phase One award of $165,000 distributed to 24 teams

News and events Research and discovery Apr 4, 2022

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The First Responder Smart Tracking (FRST) Challenge, an innovation challenge bringing together technical teams and first responders to create solutions for providing precise location details of first responders inside a structure, announced its Phase One prize winners. Submissions were evaluated by a team of expert judges to determine the recipients of the $165,000 total prize purse for Phase One. Prize money will be awarded in each phase of the competition with a total of $5.6 million in prize funds awarded across five phases of the competition.

“The caliber and innovation of the solution concepts that we have received is phenomenal,” said Sonny Kirkley, FRST project director. “The participants in this Challenge are working to solve a life-or-death first responder problem. We’re eager to see the concepts develop into meaningful solutions, with the support of the prize money, as we move forward in the FRST Challenge.”

Competing teams have brought together individuals with backgrounds in academia, technology, entrepreneurship, students, and more. Each team includes a variety of technical and design skills, as well as a first responder mentor. In the 24 teams awarded Phase One prizes, participants included 126 individuals from across 33 companies and six universities as well as 33 first responders. Information about participating teams and their submitted solutions is found at

The caliber and innovation of the solution concepts that we have received is phenomenal.

Sonny Kirkley, FRST project director

Led by the Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab in the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University, and funded by an $8 million cooperative agreement from the Public Safety Communications Research Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the challenge formally launched on March 1.

Contestants submitted the Phase One deliverable, concept papers describing the proposed technology solution, team qualifications, and first responder partnership, on March 21. The prize winners will invest their award in the development of their concept’s early prototype demonstration, the Phase Two submission.

All teams will advance from Phase One to Phase Two regardless prize status. Additionally, walk-on competitors are welcome to join the competition in future phases. Phase Two submissions are due May 2 and winners will be awarded from the $870,000 prize purse.

Visit to learn more about the Phase One winners and competition.

About the Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab

The Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab is a collaboration between the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering and University Information Technology Services, and is housed in the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University. The lab’s mission is to research and develop practical, efficient, effective, and equitable technologies and solutions to improve readiness and scale response to crises and disasters.

About the Pervasive Technology Institute

The Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University is a collaborative organization designed to marshal IU’s computational experts and resources quickly in response to societal, research, and educational needs. In partnership with University Information Technology Services, the Pervasive Technology Institute also led the original Jetstream award. The institute was established in 1999 by a grant from the Lilly Endowment and has continued to lead productive uses and applications of research technologies for over 20 years.

About University Information Technology Services

University Information Technology Services is part of the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer for Indiana University. It provides services across all IU campuses to support the university’s mission.

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