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American-Made Challenges

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Advanced Cybersecurity Technology 1 Prize

Empowering utilities with limited cybersecurity resources to make critical investments in hardening their systems against threats.

This challenge is closed

stage:
Phase 1 Winners Notified
prize:
$8,960,000

This challenge is closed

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Summary
Timeline
Updates9
Resources
Summary

Overview

The Rural and Municipal Utility Cybersecurity (RMUC) Program invites electric cooperative, municipal, and small investor-owned utilities with limited cybersecurity resources and utilities that serve military installations to apply for competitive funding and technical assistance through the Advanced Cybersecurity Technology (ACT) 1 Prize.

This three-phase competition challenges eligible utilities to identify risks and implement solutions that will harden their systems against threats and improve their overall cybersecurity posture. Utilities that progress through the competition will receive cash prizes and technical assistance to make meaningful, impactful investments in staff training, governance processes, and cybersecurity tools and technologies.


How to Apply

  1. Please review the official rules for the complete application process, requirements for competing, and submission instructions.
  2. If you’re eligible to compete, click ‘Solve This Challenge’ to begin the application process.
  3. You will be prompted to create a HeroX account, accept the Advanced Cybersecurity Technology (ACT) 1 Prize Competitor Agreement, and select whether you’d like to compete as a team and have additional members of your utility’s staff also register on HeroX.
  4. After completing the above steps, you will see ‘Begin Entry’ on the ACT 1 Prize home page. Application templates are available under the ‘Resources’ tab to aid in completing the application.
  5. In addition to submitting an application, Phase 1 applicants are required to participate in both of the mandatory virtual webinars on Sept. 27 and Oct. 11. (webinars will be recorded). If you missed the live versions of these webinars, you can stream the recordings and review the slides: 

If you have any questions, please email 


Prize Structure

The ACT 1 Prize offers a total prize pool of up to $8.96 million in cash and technical assistance across three increasingly competitive phases—Commitment, Planning, and Implementation—where each phase concludes with a prize award.

  • Commitment Phase: Utilities prepare submission packages that describe their resources, need for improving their cybersecurity posture, and commitment to participating in the ACT 1 Prize.
  • Planning Phase: Utilities work with technical assistance providers to complete system assessments, identify areas for training, understand potential risks and solutions, and draft a roadmap for implementation.
  • Implementation Phase: Utilities work with technical assistance providers to make progress toward completing their implementation roadmap. 

 


Prize Background

The RMUC Program’s ACT 1 Prize is an American-Made Challenges competition administered by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and managed by DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER).

Established by the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the RMUC program will provide $250 million over a five-year period to enhance the cybersecurity posture of electric cooperative, municipal, and small investor-owned utilities. The ACT 1 Prize is the first in the RMUC Program’s ACT Prize series.

The RMUC Program will support critical investments to strengthen utility systems, deliver technical assistance, and provide cybersecurity training to the utility workforce. These investments will result in a more secure and resilient energy grid that is better prepared to meet the challenging cybersecurity threats facing electric utilities. Visit the RMUC Program webpage to learn more about upcoming activities and events and to sign up for the RMUC Program email list.

Timeline
Updates9

Challenge Updates

Last Chance to Enter the Advanced Cybersecurity Technology (ACT) 1 Prize Contest

Nov. 28, 2023, 9:50 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

Don’t miss this chance to win up to $200,000 in cash and 120 to 240 hours of technical assistance to help meet your utility’s cybersecurity goals! Submissions for the Rural and Municipal Utility Cybersecurity Program’s ACT 1 Prize are due tomorrow, Nov. 29, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. ET

 As a reminder, submissions must include:

  • Phase 1 Cover Page and Narrative
  • Letter of Support
  • Utility Profile
  • RMUC Utility Service Territory Report
  • Technical Assistance Request Form
  • Webinar Attendance Confirmation

Templates to help you finalize your submission are available in the 'Resources' tab

Please note, your submission will not be recorded until you click ‘Submit Final Entry’ in your submission form. You must submit a Phase 1 entry to be eligible for Phase 2. For additional information, please view the official rules. We look forward to reviewing your submissions!


Reminder: Nov. 29 Phase 1 Submission Deadline is Approaching

Nov. 16, 2023, 9 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

Submissions for Phase 1 of the Advanced Cybersecurity Technology (ACT) 1 Prize are due on Nov. 29, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. ET. Please make sure you review the official rules and submit all of the required components. We look forward to reviewing your submissions!

If you have any questions, please email ACT.Prizes@nrel.gov.


Have a Question About the Advanced Cybersecurity Technology (ACT) 1 Prize?

Nov. 16, 2023, 7:25 a.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

As a reminder, if you have a question about the ACT 1 Prize, please reference the FAQ tab. Within the FAQ tab, we have posted frequently asked questions from Webinars 1 & 2 and from our email inbox. If you don’t see an answer to your question within the FAQ tab, feel free to email ACT.Prizes@nrel.gov, and a member of the ACT 1 Prize team will get back to you as soon as possible.


Utility Service Territory Report (USTR) Request Deadline Nov. 15

Nov. 9, 2023, 1:59 p.m. PST by NREL Prize Moderator

As a reminder, the deadline to request a Rural and Municipal Utility Cybersecurity (RMUC) USTR is Nov. 15, 2023. The RMUC USTR provides basic information about the communities in your utility’s service territory and is intended to help you complete your Utility Profile. More information about the USTR can be found in the presentation slides and recordings for Webinar 1 and Webinar 2.


Reminder: Phase 1 Submissions Due Nov. 29 at 5:00 p.m. ET

Nov. 1, 2023, 7:57 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Submissions for Phase 1 of the Advanced Cybersecurity Technology (ACT) 1 Prize are due on Nov. 29, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. ET. Several resources are available to help you finalize your submission, including the rules document and recordings of the informational webinars, which are available in the 'Resources' tab

If you have any questions, please email ACT.Prizes@nrel.gov.


Resources