PSCR Staff Spotlight: Prize Competition and Challenge Specialist Sarah Hughes

PSCR Staff Spotlight: Prize Competition and Challenge Specialist Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is a Prize Competition and Challenge Specialist with the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division's Open Innovation team. In this role, she manages internal and external R&D, communications, legal, administrative, and procurement resources to design and implement prize competitions and challenges to advance PSCR's mission. Additionally, she is working on PSCR’s commercialization efforts through the Pulse Business Accelerator.

PSCR’s communications team interviewed Ms. Hughes to learn more about her passion for entrepreneurship and economic development, and her experience managing prize challenges.

Can you describe your current role? 

SH: I’m on the Open Innovation team which runs PSCR’s prize challenges. We work with our technical researchers and staff to identify a problem area or a target technology area they want to explore a little bit more, and PSCR’s prize challenges recruit outside innovators to help us think through how we could advance communications technology for first responders. 

I’ve also recently been working on PSCR’s commercialization plan, thinking through the ideas and funding opportunities that can help early stage innovators advance new technology and get it into the hands of first responders. It’s been a really neat two-fold of still getting to run new prize challenges and wrap a longer prize challenge up, while also thinking through different grant funding opportunities, business accelerators, or other projects that can help us figure out how to advance the needle.

How did you get into your current role? Can you describe what compelled you to get involved in this type of work?

SH: I previously worked at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) where I was focused first at the headquarters level on entrepreneurial development programs, for instance what kind of programs could t ..

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