On October 18, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) announced the Accelerate R2 Network Challenge, a grant opportunity to support innovative approaches to disaster response and recovery. The grant program will be jointly administered by EDA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), and aims to build a nationwide network of organizations addressing disaster management.
The Accelerate R2 Network Challenge will connect stakeholders who are engaged in the following two categories:
- Response innovation – defined as innovation in the communications, technology and equipment used by first responders to address disasters and events – and
- Resiliency innovation, or finding new ways to build, protect and connect networks and infrastructure to help communities recover and build readiness and resilience in the face of future disasters.
According to the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), cities and “other political subdivisions of states” (including counties) are eligible to apply to the program. Funding could benefit county efforts to protect communities before, during and after disasters occur. More information on the county role in disaster management can be found at this link.
The application process involves two phases: a pre-application letter of intent (optional) and a full application. Applicants are encouraged – though not required – to submit a letter of intent, which program staff will review and provide feedback on project concepts prior to applicants submitting a full application.
The deadline to submit a letter of intent is January 8, 2020, and the deadline for the full application is March 11, 2020. Please reach out to NACo Associate Legislative Directors Daria Daniel (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lindsey Holman (email@example.com) with questions about the application.
For more resources on the Accelerate R2 Network Challenge, please see the following links:
- Accelerate R2 Network Challenge Informational Webinar (Registration link)
- Notice of Funding Opportunity (Grant announcement)
- Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Accelerate R2 Network Challenge (Program landing page)
For NACo resources on disaster management, please see the following links:
- Hot Topics: Preventing Disasters (NACo County News feature)
- County officials discuss prevention, management of disasters (NACo County News article)
- Local Government Guide to Coastal Resilience: Risk Communication (NACo toolkit)
- Legislation addresses rising costs of disasters (NACo blog)