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Competition: Biosensing across wide areas

Funding details
Registration closes
01 Jun 2020, 12:00
01 Jun 2020, 12:00
Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA)

This Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition is seeking proposals for innovative technologies that provide an improved way to rapidly detect and locate hazardous biological agents in the field for the benefit of defence and security operations.

Please note this is a Phase 2 competition of a multi-phase theme. It is not compulsory to have been involved in Phase 1 to apply. You should however make yourself aware of the previous competition and the proposals which were funded.

Proposals will need to deliver a higher level of maturity than achieved in Phase 1. We expect the starting Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the innovation to be TRL 3. By the end of the project, we expect the innovation to be sufficiently developed to achieve approximately TRL 4 – 5.

£700k is available to fund Phase 2, which closes for submissions on Monday 1 June 2020 at midday BST.


Current methods to detect, locate and report hazardous biological materials (derived from specific threat agents) incur operative, logistic and temporal burdens when various factors (including sampling, transfer of the sample to a laboratory infrastructure or biodetection platform, sample processing, analysis) are taken into consideration. Additionally, many biodetection systems are large and require mains power, regular maintenance and a constant supply of consumables (for example, reagents) to operate. These systems are typically complex to use and are only operable by skilled end users. The time taken to analyse samples by such methods can reduce operational tempo.

This competition aims to develop innovative biodetection sensor technologies that will ultimately lead to a fieldable system to provide rapid, high-confidence detection, location and identification of hazardous biological material deposited over a wide area. The final system will reduce the burdens identified above and will not require the operative to come into contact with the hazard (for example, the technology will be operable in a stand-off or remote configuration).

DASA is looking for innovative technologies that can sense, locate and report the presence of deposited biological hazards in real-time or which can demonstrate a clear and achievable pathway to this goal. The focus of the this Phase 2 competition continues to be on sensors and data processing/visualisation, not on hosting platforms (such as remotely controlled or unmanned systems) or the integration of existing sensors upon platforms. Technologies that can detect the hazard at a lower confidence level (such as by, for example, location of potential biological hazards) and then cue deployment of a high-confidence sensor (such as for identification, where a sensor can determine the identity of a biological hazard by name, such as bacterial species level) will also be considered.

Full details of the challenges involved can be seen here.

To discuss this competition, please contact Hazel Biggs, KTM Defence and Security.