Newswise — Across the Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE), emerging threats are evolving at the speed of thought, targeting critical infrastructure, affecting the first responder community and impacting industry and the HSE daily. At the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the hunt for solutions is on.

At S&T, we are transforming and reinventing how we approach research and development (R&D). This begins with changing how we work with the Homeland Security Industrial Base, particularly with non-traditional partners like makers, small businesses, and inventors. We are looking for those individuals who are creating the “next big thing” but don’t know how to take it from an idea to a product the government or industry can use. S&T is reaching out to these partners in an effort to invest in innovation and transition ideas to solutions faster.

How exactly are we doing this? This year we kicked off our first prize competition. We posed a question and are reviewing the responses. Next, we will select and provide cash prizes to the top two submissions that we received. We also launched our first business accelerator program to provide small businesses with industry mentors, networking support and resources to better market their products. Our National Conversation invites insights into what that future of homeland security might look like.

On Wednesday, April 29, join S&T and our partners at the Center for Innovative Technology for a Twitter Chat about these efforts and other ways we’re reaching out to non-traditional partners. Please join us on Twitter from 1 to 2 pm ET for a lively discussion about how we’re building our ecosystem of innovative non-traditional partners and performers. Submit your questions and comments before, during or after the chat and use the #STTechTalk hashtag to engage in the two-way discussion.