NIST Announces Grants for Online Identity Verification Systems
On February 12, 2015 the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced that it is launching a competition for a fourth round of grants stemming from the 2011 White House initiative, the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). The initiative called for a “vibrant Identity Ecosystem” with identity solutions that are privacy-enhancing and voluntary, secure and resilient, interoperable, and cost-effective and easy to use. The grants will support pilot online identity verification systems that improve the privacy, security, and convenience of online transactions.
The Identity Ecosystem that NIST envisions will allow individuals, businesses, and other organizations to safely conduct sensitive transactions online. The goal is to make these transactions more efficient and convenient by doing away with the account-and-password system and, for example, being able to use a single “smart card” issued by Internet service providers to access multiple online accounts. NIST also envisions a world where age, identity, and credentials can be verified through technology such as “digital certificates” or interoperable ID credentials embedded in a cell phone.
NIST anticipates funding several grants of approximately $1 million to $2 million per project per year, for up to two years. Accredited higher education institutions, nonprofit organizations, commercial organizations and U.S. state, local, and Indian tribe governments are eligible to apply. Applicants must submit an Abbreviated Application by March 17, 2015. NIST will then invite finalists to submit a Full Application by May 21, 2015. More information about the application process can be found on Grants.gov.