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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Palmetto Tech Bridge Prize Challenge 2021

Seeking innovative technology concepts for Robotic Process Automation (RPA), as well as, Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT).

Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC), Atlantic

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $20,000
Type of Challenge: Software and apps, Ideas, Analytics, visualizations, algorithms
Submission Start: 11/06/2020 10:00 AM ET
Submission End: 12/20/2020 11:00 PM ET


The NIWC Atlantic Palmetto Tech Prize Challenge is seeking submissions for the following two topics. This prize challenge is under 10 USC § 2374a and is considered an independent effort. However, the results of this prize challenge may result in an additional follow-on acquisition opportunity.

Topic 1: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Creating, managing, and sustaining our command’s data resources and repositories is a daily requirement for our business operation competencies (Finance, Contracts, HR, Supply Chain, etc). Most of this work is extremely manual in nature with standard business practices and rules that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions should be able to accommodate. RPA will allow us to move our employees away from these manually intensive tasks to more high-value work.

In Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), NIWC Atlantic began developing attended bots for a few of our competencies as proof of concepts/pilots to show the value RPA can provide to our command. NIWC Atlantic utilized the RPA Playbook developed by the Federal RPA community of practice to align with the desktop model approach. While these attended bots have demonstrated the value automation can provide to the command, they are constrained to individual users and their computer assets being dedicated to execute. NIWC Atlantic conducts most of our business operations through Department of Defense (DoD) approved networks and tools which require DoD Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) credentials to access and operate. Our attended bots require a user to initiate and leave their DoD Common Access Card (CAC) with PKI credentials inside their computer as the bots require those to operate within our network and tools. While the bots are running, users are unable to utilize their computer or CAC for other work that needs to be executed.

NIWC Atlantic is seeking RPA expertise to understand Enterprise RPA solutions that provide unattended bots that can be scheduled or triggered based on input received. An unattended, Enterprise RPA solution will allow NIWC Atlantic to achieve the true value RPA provides, enabling us to focus our human capital towards more analytical, innovative, and meaningful work. The unattended RPA solution would require DoD PKI credentials to operate within our environments and will need to be able to operate on the Navy Marine Corp Intranet (NMCI) network where all of our work is executed. The NMCI network is a DoD approved network with stringent security requirements and software application approvals that will need to be factored into potential solutions.

Topic 2: Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) The Marine Corps seeks an alternative strategy to provide Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) inputs in environments where input may not be available or not as reliable from the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) constellation. Any viable alternative must operate under conditions where radio frequency PNT signals are temporarily or permanently denied, degraded, or unreliable. Ability to overcome additional constraints of the operating environment (such as environments indoors, underground, or where radio frequency signals cannot be received) is also of value. Ideal solutions should be able to support diverse use cases in support of small, mobile systems, including dismounted Marines using an alternative PNT data input to locate and track oneself, and others (by feeding such input into a network). Use cases include individuals/units navigating within a building or across large geographic areas, and using alternative PNT data input to locate and track individuals, small unmanned surface, subsurface, or air vehicles.

The Challenge will go through a two-stage judging process.

  • Stage 1: Initial Submissions. Submissions will be judged by panel members with resident knowledge of the subject. Judging panel members will evaluate each submission based on the criteria outlined in the judging criteria below. Each topic will be evaluated separately and independently from one another. The goal of Stage 1 for the evaluators is to select five (5) participants and one (1) alternate to present oral presentations at the CDCA Summit on March 3, 2021. In the event that one of the first five (5) participants selected for oral presentations cannot attend the CDCA Summit, the alternate’s participant will be contacted for interest in presenting an oral presentation.
  • Stage 2: Oral Presentations at the CDCA Summit. The top five (5) participants for each technology category will be invited to present, at their own cost, the technology topic associated with their initial submission. The oral presentation will be conducted with the Government evaluators and other government representatives interested in the exchange. The audience could be made up of both CDCA Conference attendees and government representatives. If the Presenter wishes to have only government representatives in attendance, the participant will need to notify the organizer of this prize challenge in advance of the presentation. The oral presentation should be limited to a not to exceed 30 minute period followed by approximately 20 minutes of questions and answers. Only the government evaluators will ask questions. At the conclusion of all oral presentations, the Government judging panel team will privately discuss the oral presentations to determine the Prize Challenge winner and a runner up.

The Prize Challenge Winner for each topic will be announced on the third day of the CDCA Summit, 5 March, 2021. Each topic will present a Prize of $10,000 and also an Honorable Mention for the runner up.

Prizes will be distributed to the eligible winners via electronic funds transfer (EFT), within 90 business days of the announcement of the winner(s). NIWC Atlantic will distribute the funds evenly to all team members. Eligibility to receive an award is based upon the participant’s adherence to all rules for this Challenge. Funding for this Challenge will come from both overhead and direct funding.

  1. If the Prize Challenge winners have previously done business with the US Government and have a CAGE (Commercial and Government Entity) code. The winner will be able to provide that information to the contest organizers. The contest organizers will use it to complete the SF 1034, public voucher other than personnel. The winner will then submit the completed voucher to vendor pay. Vendor pay would then certify the payment.
  2. If the winners do not already have a CAGE code, they need go to the System for Award Management (SAM) URL The winner will then create an account and register their business. Once they do that they will be assigned a CAGE code. Once they have the CAGE code, they would give the CAGE code to the contest organizers, who would use it to complete the SF 1034.


  • Stage 1

    • Submissions 06 November – 20 December 2020
    • Judging: 21 December 2020 – 18 January 2021
  • Stage 2

    • Invitation to Participants for Oral Presentations by 29 January 2021
    • RSVP by 05 February 2021
    • Oral Submissions electronic briefing material provided by 23 February 2021
    • Oral Presentations on 3 March 2021
  • Winners Announced 5 March 2021


Total Cash Prize Pool: $20,000

NIWC Atlantic anticipates that two (2) prizes across two (2) challenge topics will be provided at one per topic each with a value of $10,000 payable to the Participant (Company, Academic Institution, or Team Lead for submission). Participants that are selected to participate in Stage 2, will be invited to present an oral presentation at the Charleston Defense Contractors Association (CDCA) Summit in front of a Government judging panel. The cost of participating in Stage 2 (e.g., travel, hotel, etc.) will not be reimbursed by the Government and is the sole responsibility of the Participant. Additionally, selected participants will be provided two complimentary Summit Exhibit Hall Passes to the 2021 CDCA Defense Summit and receive a one (1) year membership to the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP) Consortium. Participants are encouraged to visit the CDCA website ( for more Summit details and additional information on obtaining full Summit access.


For the purposes of this Prize Challenge, a Participant is considered a Company, an Academic Institution, or a Team. Each Participant is only permitted one entry per topic. Team entries must have a lead identified as the primary point of contact and prize recipient. By submitting an entry, a Participant authorizes their entity’s name to be released to the media.

Stage 1 Submission Requirements:

Submissions should be in the form of a White Paper. White papers should provide an overview of the proposed technology and technical approach (e.g., architecture, deployment overview, algorithm description, model description, performance requirements, endpoint footprint, existing results, etc.), the benefits and novelty of the approach within the context of existing academic and commercially available technologies, and the dependencies necessary to operate the proposed technology. White papers must be submitted in Microsoft (MS) Word or Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Files (PDF), no more than 4 pages in length (inclusive of diagrams), on 8.5” x 11”, 1” Margins and no less than 10 point Arial or Times New Roman font. Please note that if the submission is not consistent with these guidelines and deemed to be difficult to read, the submission will be disqualified with no additional consideration. In addition, only a single submission may be allowed per topic per participant.

Stage 2 Submission Requirements:

Participants invited to present oral presentations at the CDCA Summit will be required to RVSP within seven (7) business days of the Government invitation. The participant should plan on no more than a 30 minute presentation with an additional allocated 15 minute question and answer period by the government judging panel. The Oral presentations will be conducted in front of an audience made up of Government representatives and other CDCA participants. The participant can request a Government only audience. Oral presentations can include a technology demonstration, technology briefing material, and marketing materials, or a combination of the aforementioned artifacts. Facility space is limited and the Participant will need to plan for no more than 15 minutes for set up and 15 minutes for take down and be self-sufficient. A Prize Challenge representative will reach out to the Participant at the time of Oral Presentation Demonstration to coordinate facility access. The participant will be given no more than 30 minutes to present. An electronic briefing product should be provided one week in advance of the CDCA Summit (23 February 2020). The electronic brief must be provided in either MS Power Point or Adobe Acrobat PDF, no more than 11 pages to include a cover slide, inclusive of all diagrams, on a standard 8.5” x 11” page. Orientation can be portrait or landscape at the discretion of the Participant. In addition, the Participant is requested to bring 10 printed copies of the brief, with no more than 11 pages per brief.

Note: All technology assertions in support of this Prize Challenge must be compliant with Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. The following statement must be present within the white paper: “I, submitter of this White Paper, asserts that they are compliant with Section 889.”

Eligibility to Participate:

  • There shall be one (1) official participant representative for each challenge registration. The official representative must provide a name and e-mail address and, by sending the registration, affirms on behalf of the solver (individual, team, or legal entity), that he or she has read and consents to be governed by the challenge rules.
  • There shall be no more than two (2) participants per team if selected to present a Stage 2 Oral presentation.
  • At the time of registration, all Participants including the official representative (whether an individual, team, or legal entity) must be age 18 or older.
  • As determined by NIWC Atlantic, any violation of these rules will be grounds for disqualification from the challenge.
  • Multiple individuals and/or legal entities may collaborate as a Participant to submit a single entry, in which case the designated Official Representative will be responsible for meeting all entry and judging panel requirements.
  • Participation is subject to all U.S. federal, state, local, and country of residence laws and regulations.
  • Participants must not be suspended, debarred, or otherwise excluded from doing business with the federal government. An individual or entity that is determined to be on the GSA Excluded Parties List ( is ineligible to participate. Individuals entering on behalf of or representing a company, institution or other legal entity are also responsible for confirming that their entry does not violate any policies of that company, institution or legal entity.
  • As a condition of participation, all Participants must agree to indemnify the federal government against third-party claims for damages arising from or related to challenge activities. Entrants are not required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility in order to participate in the challenge. By entering the challenge, Participants agree to hold NIWC Atlantic harmless from all legal and administrative claims to include associated expenses that may arise from any claims related to their challenge solution or its use.
  • Federal grantees may not use federal funds to develop challenge solutions unless consistent with the purpose of their grant award.
  • Federal contractors may not use federal funds from a contract to develop challenge solutions or to fund efforts in support of a challenge entry.
  • Participants may not be a federal entity or federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.
  • Federal government employees are not eligible to participate as Participant or their team member personnel in this challenge.

Eligibility to Win a Cash Prize:

To be eligible for a cash prize:

  • At the time of submission of the white papers in Stage 1, including the official representative (individual, team, or legal entity) must be age 18 or older.
  • An individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • In the case of a private entity that is participating as a solver or as part of a solver team, the business must be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States or its territories.
  • Payments to the winning teams will be made via electronic funds transfer (EFT).
  • A Participant shall not be deemed ineligible because the solver consulted with federal employees in preparing its submission for this NIWC Atlantic if the federal employees are made available to all Participants on an equitable basis. Participants may use any public-facing websites or publicly available federal government resources, as well as all resources provided to the challenge Participants on an equitable basis.
  • The official representative for each challenge entry shall follow the steps listed below under “Submission Guidelines” in advance of the submission end date (December 6th, 2020 11:00 PM ET).

Data Provided:

NIWC Atlantic requires Government Purpose Rights (GPR) on submitted artifacts. The judging panel team does plan to retain entries after the Challenge is completed in order to help shape future technology decisions. By accepting these Terms and Conditions, the Participant consents to the use of data submitted for use within Government Purposes only.

Because of the number of anticipated Challenge entries, NIWC Atlantic cannot and will not make determinations on whether or not third-party technologies in the Challenge submissions have protectable intellectual property (IP) interests. By participating in this Challenge, each Participant (whether participating individually, as a team, or as a commercial entity) warrants and assures the Government that any data used for the purpose of submitting an entry for this Challenge, were obtained legally and through authorized access to such data. By entering the Challenge and submitting the Challenge materials, the Participant agrees to indemnify and hold the Government harmless against any claim, loss or risk of loss for patent or copyright infringement with respect to such third-party interests.

Any applicable ownership of IP in the submission will remain with the solver. By participating in the challenge the solver is not transferring any exclusive IP rights in applicable patents, pending patent applications, or copyrights in connection with the submission. However, by entering the submission, the solver agrees to grant the federal government certain license rights, as set forth in this section.

Namely, the solver grants the government the right to review the submission, to publicly describe the submission in any materials created in connection with this challenge, to screen and evaluate the submission, and to have the judges, the Challenge administrators, and the designees of any of them review the submission. The government is also granted the right to publicize Solver names and, as applicable, the names of solver team members and/or organizations that participated in the submission following the conclusion of the challenge.

This Challenge does not replace or supersede any other written contracts and/or written challenges that the Participant has or will have with the Government, which may require delivery of any materials the Participant is submitting herein for this Challenge effort.

This Challenge constitutes the entire understanding of the parties with respect to the Challenge. NIWC Atlantic may update the terms of the Challenge from time to time without notice. Participants are strongly encouraged to check the website frequently.

If any provision of this Challenge is held to be invalid or unenforceable under applicable federal law, it will not affect the validity or enforceability of the remainder of the Terms and Conditions of this Challenge.

Terms and Conditions

  • This challenge shall be performed in accordance with the 10 U.S.C. § 2374a, as amended.
  • All challenges are subject to all applicable federal laws and regulations. Participation constitutes full and unconditional agreement to these official rules and administrative decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the challenge.
  • Eligibility for a cash prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein. This notice is not an obligation of funds; the final award of prizes is contingent upon the availability of appropriations and receiving suitable entries.
  • This NIWC Atlantic challenge is voluntary and open to all entities that meet the eligibility requirements. There may be only one submission (“Submission”) per eligible entity per topic. Submissions must be received before the deadline indicated (December 6, 2020, 11:00 PM ET), if any submissions are received after the deadline they will not be considered.
  • A Challenge entry constitutes an agreement to adhere to the challenge rules, terms and conditions set forth by the challenge sponsor, NIWC Atlantic.
  • Participants must meet the eligibility requirements described in the Eligibility section, to participate and/or win a cash prize.
  • Any Participant or entry found in violation of any rule will be disqualified at NIWC Atlantic’s sole discretion.
  • Each individual or Participant team certifies, through entry to the contest, that the entry is his/her own original, creative work and does not violate or infringe upon the creative work of others, as protected under applicable IP law.
  • Each Participant certifies, through entry to the challenge, that any submission by the official representative does not contain any harmful computer code (sometimes referred to as “malware,” “viruses,” or “worms”).
  • By entering the challenge, the Participants agree to hold NIWC Atlantic harmless from all legal and administrative claims to include associated expenses that may arise from any claims related to their entry or its use.
  • All judging panel decisions are final and may not be appealed.
  • All cash prizes awarded by NIWC Atlantic to Participants are subject to tax liabilities, and no withholding will be assessed by NIWC Atlantic on behalf of the solver claiming a cash prize.
  • NIWC Atlantic reserves the right for any reason, including but not limited to an insufficient number of qualified entries, to modify or cancel the challenge at any time during the duration of the challenge.
  • All Participants agree that they, their heirs and estates agree to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the federal government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in a prize challenge, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.
  • By participating in the challenge, each solver agrees to comply with and abide by all NIWC Atlantic challenge rules, terms, and conditions, and the decisions of Atlantic and/or the individual judges, which shall be final and binding in all respects.


  • The winners of a cash prize for the Challenge (collectively, “Winners”) may be featured on Federal websites, in newsletters, social media, and in other print and electronic outreach materials.
  • Except where prohibited, participation in the challenge constitutes the consent of each winner to the government’s and its agents’ use of each winner’s name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, public summary, and/or hometown and state information for promotional purposes through any form of media, worldwide, without further permission, payment, or consideration.
  • Finally, the government will continue to communicate the resulting winner’s solution only if it continues to deliver mutual benefit to the government in achieving its mission to provide relevant services. In order to measure this and continue to improve programs and services, the Solver or Solver team must share platform use data with the government.

Judging Criteria

Judging Panel

Submissions that comply with the challenge requirements will be reviewed by a panel of judges consisting of Government Representatives. Entries will be scored by a panel of judges with a resident knowledge of the Technology Challenge topic. One Judging Panel will be assigned per Challenge Topic and will judge only the topic in which they are assigned.

Judging Criteria

Each submission will be judged based on the following criteria with each judge panel independently scoring the solution on a scale of 1-5 and then calculated into a weighted percentage as detailed below. A score of “1” indicates that the submission received the lowest consideration based on the scoring criteria below whereas a score of “5” would indicate that the submission is considered the highest of interest to the Government. The winner will be determined by averaging all judges’ scores and calculating the highest scoring solution.

Stage 1 Judging Considerations:

Technical Approach (1/3rd of scoring)

  • The solution provides a novel approach to the Challenge topic in accordance with one or both of the following:

    • The technology approach provides a new approach using existing commercial application not commonly found within the Department of the Navy
    • The technology approach provides a new concept not widely used within a commercial application.
    • The description of the technology approach provides a comprehensive description with supportive data, methods, and supportive technologies used towards a solution.
    • The description of the technical approach is written in a manner that is legible and easy to read.

Applicability for use within the Department of Navy Construct (1/3rd of scoring)

  • How can the technology be applied in a Naval Environment. Examples include but are not limited to and nor specifically graded against:

    • Naval Enterprise
    • Surface Ship/Shore/Sub Surface applicability
    • Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF)
    • Command and Control
    • Battle Space Awareness
    • Cyber Warfare
  • The technology solution is realistic for use in a Naval Environment.

Creativity and Innovation (1/3rd of scoring)

  • Provides an innovative approach to solve the challenge presented.
  • Provides creative resolutions in overcoming other technology barriers or impediments currently present in the Navy.

Stage 2 Judging Considerations:

Quality of Oral Presentation

  • The presentation/demonstration of the solution clearly provides a high-level view of its functionality, purpose and usage as applied to the prize challenge topic.

How to Enter

Stage 1 Concept Submission:

Submissions to Stage 1 of the challenge will be accepted from 06 November 2020 at 10:00 a.m. ET through 06 December 2020 at 11:00 p.m. ET. Entries received before and after the time slot will not be accepted. The identified official representative (individual, team, or legal entity) may register for this challenge by sending an e-mail to with the subject line stating “Palmetto Tech Bridge Prize Challenge 21: [INSERT TOPIC NAME]”. Please provide a separate e-mail if submitting against more than one topic. There shall be only one official participant representative for each topic submission. The official participant representative must provide a name and e-mail address and, by sending in the registration, and affirms on behalf of the solver (individual, team, or legal entity), that he or she has read and consents to be governed by the challenge rules.

Stage 2 Invitation to Oral Presentations:

Any participant receiving an invitation to provide an oral presentation on the 3rd of March will be contact by a government representative for further coordination instructions.

Submission Guidelines

Stage 1 Concept Submission:

Prior to the closing date, e-mail the white paper to

  • The e-mail subject line must state “Palmetto Tech Bridge Prize Challenge 21: [INSERT TOPIC NAME].”
  • E-mail must come from the official representative for the team.
  • All submissions must be in English.
  • Participants must not use government logos or official seals in their submissions and must not otherwise give an appearance of federal government endorsement.

Stage 2 Oral Presentations:

Any company receiving an invitation to provide an oral presentation on the 3rd of March will be required to submit any read ahead information by 23 February 2021. Any physical equipment needed for demonstration will need to be self-sufficient and able to be set up and break down within 15 minutes. Any materials provided by Companies or Teams not invited to present oral presentations will be discarded without review.


Questions regarding the Palmetto Tech Bridge Prize Challenge 2021 can be directed to

Submission Email: with the subject line stating “Palmetto Tech Bridge Prize Challenge 21: [INSERT TOPIC NAME]”.