New Request for Proposals Announced in $100M “Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research” Program

The PAWR Project Office is releasing its second Request for Proposals as part of a nationwide program to create city-scale testbed sites for advancing next-generation wireless research

WASHINGTON – August 1, 2018 – The Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) Project Office (PPO), led by US Ignite, Inc. and Northeastern University, with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a consortium of 28 companies and industry associations, has released a second Request for Proposals (RFP) to design, deploy, and operate a set of platforms for advancing next-generation wireless research across the United States.

Adding to the two wireless testbeds announced earlier this year, the PPO will select up to two new proposals pursuant to this latest RFP, towards the goal of establishing four advanced research platforms supported by $100 million in cash and in-kind investments from both the public and private sectors.

Over time, the PAWR program aims not only to launch these platforms as individual testbed sites, but to connect them virtually as a nationwide, shared innovation lab for wireless research.

PAWR program participants are exploring the development of new wireless hardware, communications techniques, and networking architectures. As the first testbeds located in New York City and Salt Lake City mature, and as new testbeds are developed, academic and industry researchers will also use these platforms to trial new types of services enabled by ubiquitous, high-performance connectivity. The goal is to sustain U.S. leadership in the wireless industry and to boost economic competitiveness across a range of sectors that will benefit from next-generation networking technologies.

Teams interested in applying to participate in this RFP should submit a preliminary proposal by September 28, 2018, and a final proposal by December 11, 2018. Teams should consist, at a minimum, of an interested city and an academic partner with specialists in wireless research. Finalists will be announced no later than March 2019, and each winner will receive an award of up to $9 million in cash plus up to $15 million worth of in-kind contributions to implement an at-scale wireless testbed.

Although the second RFP for PAWR is broadly similar to the first, there is a distinction in focus. In this round, there is greater emphasis on vertical use cases for advanced wireless technologies, including but not limited to research in the areas of smart agriculture, transportation, energy, healthcare, education, manufacturing, and public safety.

“The combination of academic, civic, and industry involvement in PAWR is creating a foundation for collaborative research unlike any other wireless or IoT effort in the country,” said Joe Kochan, Principal Investigator and Project Director for the PPO. “We expect the technological and economic impact of this to be considerable, and we look forward to adding new partners with new ideas to the PAWR team.”

Among the major benefits of the PAWR program is the channel it creates between research institutions and the private sector. PAWR moves innovative work out of the lab and into a shared environment where both academics and industry representatives can learn from and collaborate with each other.

“For wireless researchers, the opportunity to experiment at scale on emerging technologies and application verticals will spur innovation, enable repeatable results, and generate novel shared data repositories,” said Kaushik Chowdhury, Director of Academic Outreach for the PPO.

Host communities also play a critical role by informing research with civic priorities and practical deployment realities.

“We are in many ways creating a city-scale laboratory,” said Erwin Gianchandani, Deputy Assistant Director at NSF for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. “With its focus on fundamental, pre-commercial research, and combining civic aims with networking innovation, PAWR offers an unprecedented opportunity to impact people’s daily lives, community well-being, and the nation’s economy.”

Academic institutions, nonprofits and/or local governments interested in submitting a proposal should visit for additional information and deadlines.

About the PAWR Project Office (PPO)

The Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program is jointly supported by the National Science Foundation and a PAWR Industry Consortium to create community-scale research platforms to accelerate fundamental research on wireless communication and networking technologies. The PAWR Project Office (PPO) manages this $100 million public-private partnership and will oversee these eventual research platforms. The PPO is run by US Ignite, Inc., and Northeastern University. The PPO collaborates closely with NSF, the wireless research community, local communities, and industry, in part through the Industry Consortium, in the design, development, deployment, and initial operations of the research platforms.

US Ignite, Inc. is a non-profit organization accelerating the smart city movement by guiding communities into the connected future, creating a path for private sector growth, and advancing technology research that’s at the heart of smart city development.

Northeastern University is a global, experiential, and top-tier research university, with the world’s most innovative cooperative education program. Research in the College of Engineering looks at critical issues in materials, processes, systems, and infrastructure at every scale—nano to macro to global—grounded in a translational approach that integrates the values of fundamental and applied research to meet societal needs.