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Defence and security funding round-up

Posted on 13/03/2020

Upcoming funding opportunities and events in the defence and security sectors, including crime detection and prevention. Updated 26th June 2020.

To help you navigate this frequently-complex landscape, KTN has compiled a list of open competitions and forthcoming events. Many of these calls will be of interest to companies who are not yet involved in the defence or forensics sectors (the latter area covers all aspects of crime detection and prevention).

If you would like to connect with KTN’s defence, security and forensics expert Hazel Biggs, you can contact her here.

Competition: Intelligent Ship Phase 2

This competition is seeking proposals for novel and innovative technologies, approaches, and enablers to revolutionise military decision-making, mission planning and automation. The eventual aim, for 2030 and beyond, is to exploit a human-machine network that could work collaboratively on military platforms.

This Phase 2 call seeks projects to support the evaluation and demonstration of a range of human-machine teams, or Agents for Decision-Making (ADeMs), and their integration with an evaluation environment (the Intelligent Ship Artificial Intelligence Network (ISAIN)). An agent could be an AI application, a human, or a mix of the two.

Challenge 1 seeks a supplier to integrate ISAIN with a range of ADeMs (either already developed in Phase 1 or within other Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) core programmes, or to be developed during Phase 2). The evaluation of this will be developed based on a set of Front Line Command objectives and a national scenario. The key aim of this challenge is to understand, quantify and demonstrate the risks and opportunities of managing a complex network that includes both AI agents and human operators.

Challenge 2 seeks multiple suppliers to develop new or to enhance existing ADeMs to feed the evaluation within challenge 1. Outputs should aim to be ISAIN-ready and be available as options for a demonstration/evaluation.

£3m total funding is available. The maximum funding available for challenge 1 is £1.5M, expected to fund 1 proposal. The maximum funding available for challenge 2 is £250k per proposal. If successful, contracts will be 16 months.

Webinars for prospective applicants will be held on 23rd June. The deadline for applications is 4th August.

For more information, click here.

Competition: Behavioural Analytics Phase 2

This Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition is seeking proposals to develop capability in ‘Behavioural Analytics’. Total funding £2m (up to £250k per project). You do not need to have participated in Phase 1 to apply.

In Phase 2 there are two challenge areas. These challenges will provide solutions to reliably understand and forecast attitudes and behaviours of individuals, groups and populations. It is important to note that these should not be viewed as rigid, singular challenges – they are not mutually exclusive. Your proposal must meet at least one of the challenges, but we welcome bids that address both where appropriate.

Challenge 1: How can we harness and analyse new sources of data to reliably understand and forecast behaviour in a defence and security context?

Challenge 2: How can we help practitioners to understand and use insights from behavioural analytics in a defence and security context?

For more information, click here. The closing date is 13th August 2020.

DASA Open Call for Innovation

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) Open Call for Innovation is looking for innovative ideas to improve the defence and security of the UK. Your idea could be a concept, product or service, at various levels of maturity.

There are five newly added areas of focus:

  • Integrate information & physical activity across domains
    We are seeking proposals which provide field communication capabilities that are resistant to attack, but continue to perform if degraded and are secure. Products should do any or all of:

    • Manage significant volumes of data from remote or autonomous systems
    • Information services that integrate formatted or unformatted data
    • Collaborative data sharing internationally with classified information
  • Deliver agile command & control
    In order to achieve a more agile Command and Control process we are looking for proposals which promote a shift from more traditional chains of command to more dynamic, lateral networks, with greater delegation of authority and allow exploitation of relevant information at speed. Areas include:

    • Technology based data analysis e.g. use of machine learning
    • Collaboration between human and technology based decision making processes
    • Systems and processes to analyse and visualise real-time data
    • Merging in-house and commercially available information services to establish situational awareness
  • Operate & deliver effects in contested domains
    Freedom to use our information networks and the electromagnetic spectrum is essential as this is the medium for communication between forces during operations and for our most effective sensors. We seek novel ideas which could be used by the UK Armed Forces to do one, or several, of the below:

    • Communicate and synchronise activities in contested environments
    • Monitor contested environments
    • Manufacture methods and design concepts to deliver alternate explosive/electromagnetic/chemical effects and protection from these effects
    • Manage fleets of remote or autonomous systems and use these systems to undertake tasks normally completed by human operators
  • People, skills, knowledge & experience
    • Attract and retain SQEP with niche specialities and technical skills.
    • Tracking and managing important skillsets across the workforce
    • Provide technologies/services and other opportunities to improve welfare standards, workforce health and wellbeing
    • Provide alternative approaches to contracting or seconding specialist staff
    • Identify and collaborate with organisations with experience in the above areas
  • Simulate future battlespace complexity
    • Apply procedures and solutions that provide effective training and evaluation capabilities
    • Integration and fusion of data from, and between, distributed training and experimentation systems
    • Provide training for operators to perform in complex or high stress environments
    • Adoption of Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality into training
    • Capture and exploitation of performance information collected during training

Two further areas of focus are still looking for proposals:

  • Reduced-Burden Area Biosurveillance
    We are looking to identify technologies to provide static detection at sentry points or to be deployed as a networked system that could be analogous to the size and function of the Man-portable Chemical Agent Detector (MCAD) or GID3. Solutions should be capable of providing biosurveillance capability to fixed bases with good infrastructure, e.g. Main Operating Bases (MOB) and Sea Port of Disembarkation (SPOD), as well as forward locations with lesser infrastructure e.g. Forward Operating Bases (FOB). Our end goal is to create an automated all-in-one detection system with integrated aerosol collection, sample processing and identification in as small a system as possible. We are therefore looking for projects which will either develop components (e.g. aerosol collection, sample processing or identification) which could be eventually integrated into a system, or integrate pre-existing components into an all-in-one system. Because the final system needs to provide high confidence outputs in order to support rapid decision making, we are not interested in options based on generic detection technologies (e.g. fluorescence, LIDAR etc). We need the solution to be able to provide specific detection of individual threat agents.
  • Innovative security features for bank notes
    Banknotes employ a range of visual and tactile features – such as holographic foils or optically variable coloured inks – to aid public or retailer authentication. The Bank of England is now looking ahead and inviting ideas to develop novel, overt, security features and print technologies for consideration for potential use in future generations of banknotes.

This is an open call with £1m total funding available.

They’re looking for proposals ranging from emerging innovations (TRL2-3, with funding c.£50k-100k per project) up to rapid impact (TRL6-7, c.£100k-£350k/project).

If your company has something that could work, get more details here.

The competition runs in 3-month cycles: the next closing date is 30th July 2020, with a decision date of 3rd November 2020.

DASA seeks novel technology to counter homemade bombs

Invisible Shield: Countering IEDs by novel technology and techniques seeks innovative proposals to thwart adversaries, terrorists and criminals from using everyday communications items such as radios or mobile phones and networks to trigger homemade bombs and explosives.

The competition, run on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and Strategic Command, is particularly looking at:

  • Novel spectrum survey techniques to capture and analyse Radio Frequency signals
  • Techniques to quickly and effectively neutralise target devices
  • New and novel hardware and system components

The competition is expected to have at least £1.5m available in funding for Phase 1 with funding anticipated for further development in Phase 2.

DASA expects to fund up to 10 proposals during Phase 1 with a funding amount of up to £150k per project.

A summary of the competition and requirements can be found here.

DASA and Dstl hosted a launch event on 29th April 2020, and bookable one to one dial ins for this competition are available on Wednesday 6th May 2020, where you will be able to discuss the Invisible Shield competition with technical members of the competition team. You can register for these 1-1 chats on Eventbrite – click here for details.

Nine slots are available on this day and will be booked on a first come, first serve basis.

Alternatively, please send your question to where it will be directed to the competition team.

Proposals must be submitted by Wednesday 01 July 2020 at midday (BST) via the DASA submission service.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Current KTP period opens on 7th May, and closes on 15th July 2020 (after this the next round will be available immediately, so don’t rush your application unnecessarily).

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)  links your organisation with one of the UK’s world-class knowledge bases (a university or research organisation) to power strategic innovation projects, embed expertise and drive commercial growth. needed to develop it, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership may be the answer. It creates a dynamic three-way collaboration – between a business or not for profit organisation, a UK university or research organisation, and a suitably qualified graduate – to help realise a strategic innovation project, bring about transformative change and embed new capability.

Read more


Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Just like our highly effective KTP programme, Management KTPs (MKTPs) create a dynamic 3-way partnership between your company, a team of academic experts and a skilled graduate. The focus of a MKTP is specifically on increasing effectiveness and improving results through better management practices.

The first round of these has now closed – visit to be kept informed about future MKTPs.