Healthy and General

Competition Document: Engineering Biology for Defence and

24 min read

1. Introduction

Synthetic biology is the design and fabrication of biological components and systems that do not already exist in the natural world. The process of taking synthetic biology concepts and turning them into real world solutions is engineering biology.

This Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition is seeking proposals that solve a range of defence and security challenges and enhance capability by applying engineering biology approaches. Previously, a proof-of-concept project evaluating bio-enabled approaches for novel armour materials demonstrated the potential of the technology (you can follow the links to the previously funded projects in “Synthetic biology for novel materials” Phase 1 and Phase 2). We are now expanding to further develop applications which identify and evaluate innovative engineering biology approaches to improve wider defence and security capability. High-risk high-reward approaches are encouraged. However, there should be a plan to take the work to at least Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 (Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof-of-concept) by the end of the end of Phase 1a.

This competition is funded by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). This competition will also involve the US Department of Defense (DoD). The relationship will operate under, and be governed by, an extant memorandum of understanding between both nations. Both the MOD and DoD will have access to proposals submitted under this competition in order to jointly assess which proposals to fund.

2. Competition key information

2.1 Submission deadline

Midday on Thursday 25th August 2022

2.2 Where do I submit my proposal?

Via the DASA Online Submission Service for which you will require an account. Only proposals submitted through the DASA Online Submission Service will be accepted.

You will be required to enter your organisation’s DUNS number prior to submission of a full proposal on the DASA Online Submission Service. Please allow enough time to do this prior to submission.

Lookup or Register for a DUNS Number here. Organisations registered outside of the United Kingdom can obtain their DUNS number here.

2.3 Total funding available

This competition document covers Phase 1 of the requirement only. The total funding available for the whole Phase 1 of the competition is £1.5m (ex VAT). This funding will be split across two 12 month phases, Phase 1a and a costed optional Phase 1b, with a maximum of £750k available per sub-phase. There is no upper-limit per proposal for this competition, but we are expecting to fund around 7-8 proposals in Phase 1a, approximately £100k for each phase of work (per proposal).

Additional funding for further phases to increase TRL may be available. If there is a future phase, it will be run as a separate future DASA competition and be open to applications from all innovators and not just those who submitted successful Phase 1 bids.

Other competitions

If you’re interested in this technology area please also take a look at the Wearable Technology competition. Please note that you cannot submit the same proposal to both competitions. If you’re interested in applying but unsure which competition your innovation would be best suited to, contact your local innovation partner.

3. Supporting events

3.1 Dial-in sessions

Tuesday 5th July 2022 – A dial-in session providing further detail on the problem space and a chance to ask questions in an open forum. If you would like to participate, please register on the Eventbrite page.

Thursday 7th and Monday 11th July 2022 – A series of 20 minute one-to-one teleconference sessions, giving you the opportunity to ask specific questions. If you would like to participate, please register on the Eventbrite pages: 7th July and 11th July. Booking is on a first come first served basis.

3.2 Industry Collaboration Survey during Proposal Preparation

We encourage collaboration between organisations for this competition. To support this we have a short survey to collect details of those who wish to explore collaboration possibilities. If you are interested in a collaboration, please complete the survey and your details will be circulated among other potential suppliers who have completed the survey and are interested in collaborating.

If you choose to complete the supplier collaboration survey, please be aware all of the information you submit in the survey will be provided to other suppliers who also complete the survey. All industry collaboration for proposal submissions is on an industry-industry basis. Inclusion or absence of any individual supplier organisation will not affect assessment, which will be solely on technical evidence in the proposal.

4. Competition Scope

4.1 Background: Building Back Better with Biology

Engineering biology is a disruptive technology, identified as being one of the defining technologies of the 21st Century and will be an important tool for achieving the sustainability targets set by the UK Government. Engineering biology contributes to the government’s ambition to create the right supportive environment in the UK to help double the size of the bioeconomy from £220 billion in 2014 to £440 billion by 2030[1]. The tools and technologies emerging from engineering biology have the potential to transform many parts of the UK industrial base. For many industries, transformation will be through entirely new-to-the-market products, while in others the low carbon nature of all biological solutions will drive implementation of new engineering biology-based processes in place of those based on petrochemicals. As with other sectors, Defence and Security is looking to new bio-enabled approaches to develop new capability and reduce its carbon footprint.

4.2 Phase 1- Split funding

This DASA Phase 1 competition is split in to Phase 1a and a costed optional Phase 1b. Phase 1a of this competition is seeking technologies starting at a low TRL (TRL 1-2) and rising to a higher TRL (minimum TRL 3) by the end of Phase 1a throughout a maximum 12 month contract. There is a total maximum of £750k of funding available for phase 1a.

Your Phase 1a proposal can also include a further priced option for an additional 12 month period (Phase 1b), bringing the total contract length available to 24 months. This aims to allow you to advance the maturity of the technology to a minimum of TRL 4 after 24 months, with minimal interruption to the work. A Phase 1b Option Condition after the first 12 months will be included in any resultant Contracts awarded and the Authority will be under no obligation to exercise this option.

The additional Phase 1b 12 month period should be outlined within the full proposal under the ‘Phase 1b’ section in the application form and should include approximate timings, deliverables and maximum total costs. There is an additional £750k of funding for Phase 1b, totaling £1.5m of funding available over 24 months. Again, there is no upper funding limit for the additional 12 months’ work, but we are expecting to fund a number of proposals from those selected for Phase 1a. Note, costings for the Phase 1b optional 12 months development work should not be inserted into the ‘Finance’ and ‘Delivery Schedule’ sections of the proposal. If you do not wish to include a Phase 1b, please add ‘N/A’ to the ‘Phase 1b’ heading on your application. Proposals that do not provide an optional Phase 1b, will not be marked down over those which do provide details for both Phase 1a and the optional Phase 1b.

If you are successful in being awarded funding in Phase 1a, approximately 9 months into the contract you will be asked to provide a technical report demonstrating your work to date and a finalised plan for the additional 12 months’ work (if you have requested to do this in your proposal). Proposals will be reviewed as to the solutions that best address the Engineering Biology defence challenges and provide value for money. The Authority will be under no obligation to exercise each supplier’s Phase 1b option; and we may cease any further participation at the end of the Phase 1a.

It is anticipated that there will be a Phase 2, which will be run as a separate future DASA competition. Should Phase 2 proceed, projects funded will reach a higher maturity (at least TRL 4) than work funded in Phase 1. Phase 2 would be open to new innovators (not just those who submitted Phase 1 bids) and funded projects would be for a maximum of a further 12 months.

The reason for offering a potential 12 month extension (Phase 1b) is to continue development with a minimal pause in the contract. Although we are anticipating a Phase 2 competition, the contracts for these will not be placed at the exact point the Phase 1 contracts end. Having an option to extend the Phase 1 contracts will allow continued development.

Engineering Biology phases diagram

4.3 Scope

It is envisaged that this project will involve cutting edge, multidisciplinary research through the application of engineering biology tools and techniques, using novel research approaches and the discovery of new knowledge. Solutions do not have to be exclusively engineering biology, but must contain synthetic biology as a core component of any proposed solution. Various definitions of engineering biology are acceptable, but exploiting bioinspiration[2] alone is not in scope.

Solutions must reflect a defence relevant need, the sections below give some examples of these, but not necessarily be exclusive to defence and security. Civil applications should be identified as potential exploitation pathways where appropriate.

5. Competition Challenges

5.1 Challenge 1: Exploiting engineering biology for a step change in power and energy technologies

We are seeking engineering biology concepts that can offer a step change in existing power source and energy storage solutions for military applications. Some of the identified limitations of existing power sources are listed below:

High energy batteries can be flammable and explosive when abused. Approaches that can mitigate this either at the chemistry level by using novel cell materials or using engineered biology materials to prevent fire and thermal runaway as an appliqué to standard commercial off the shelf (COTS) cells would be of interest.

  • Limited specific energy (Wh/kg) and energy density (Wh/L)

Despite significant research and advances in batteries (and other power sources) new military capability still require higher energy rechargeable batteries in lower mass and smaller volumes.

Next-generation rechargeable batteries promise over 400 Wh/kg and 800 Wh/L but there is interest in any technology that can improve these metrics even further.

Primary (non-rechargeable) batteries are used less often, but are still used where their even higher specific energy and energy density warrants it. Engineered biology approaches to produce very high specific energy (>500 Wh/kg) and (1000 Wh/L) single use batteries would also be of interest.

Approaches could be:

  • To use engineered biology approaches to replace one or more components of a ‘traditional’ battery construction to improve energy, safety or other performance metrics
  • To use engineering biology to produce packaging or other materials that enhances a battery’s safety or performance
  • To produce an entirely novel engineering biology solution to the production of useable electrical energy
  • Another novel engineering biology approach that provides a disruptive change to power and energy provision

Military power sources need to operate over a wide temperature range and many are embedded within devices, and therefore access to air cannot always be guaranteed. In addition, many devices are stored on the shelf for years before use. Whilst it is accepted that new novel engineering biology systems may not be able to address all military requirements at the outset, proposals should make comment on the ultimate practicality of any suggested solutions and their limitations and ability to meet military requirements.

5.2 Challenge 2: Materials for defence

We are seeking materials for a range of uses in Defence and Security. Materials relevant to a range of challenges including protection against physical attack, survival in extreme environments and development of generation-after-next capability, but excludes exposure to chemical and biological agents. Examples of such materials could include

  • Functionalised material e.g. self-disclosing for fatigue and corrosion, non-visible damage
  • Lightweight but strong structural materials, including composites
  • Novel camouflage solutions, including active or reactive colour change materials, variable emissivity surfaces and very high performance acoustic absorbers
  • Materials for eye protection, covering physical and laser protection
  • Materials for protection of physical sensors on equipment e.g. against dazzle or jamming, without blocking performance of the sensor
  • Coatings suitable for defence purposes that are relatively easy to apply, repairable in the field, and easy to remove without damaging substrate. Coatings may include functional materials e.g. self-healing properties and metamaterials
  • Durable novel materials for equipment with an application to specific environments, e.g. high altitude, high velocity, ice and snow, including heat shielding, anti-fouling in marine environments
  • Biological approaches to creation of, or recovery of, critical materials (for a list of relevant materials see the NSI Act Advanced Materials guidance)
  • Materials for enhanced antenna design or enhanced performance, e.g. enhanced microwave magnetic properties, enhanced matched impedance at elevated refractive index, materials that enable tuning of antennas

Any novel materials must involve engineering biology at some stage of their production, but chemical modification of biologically-derived precursors is acceptable. The proof-of-concept would be a novel material structure, and production of sufficient material to demonstrate the desired property (e.g. strength, density). A military application should be identified, but identification of other commercial applications is encouraged in addition.

5.3 Challenge 3: Sensing

Sensing and sensor technologies are a fundamental enabler of Defence and Security activities. Engineering biology will enable new sensing paradigms. We are seeking innovations that aim to consider the term “sensing” by a broad definition i.e. bioengineered systems that aim to push the boundaries of what can be achieved for measurement. Any sensing modality is relevant to this call, including molecular sensing but particularly those that consider more ambitious goals to move beyond traditional analytical sensors. Areas for consideration could include;

  • Novel sensing modalities delivered through engineering biology, i.e. mediated by a new component or a new combination of known components to sense new materials (e.g. ligands) or new properties (e.g. gravity, radiation, vibration, electronic/optical or magnetic signatures)
  • Sensing modalities that are enabled by bioengineered components, i.e. where a biological component is integral in manufacture, e.g. biological scaffolding/templating to produce materials with requisite enhancements in physicochemical properties, linked to sensing functionalities. Innovations within this challenge area should include appropriate analysis to determine that such materials can be produced in a repeatable and reproducible manner
  • Integrated response functions, i.e. where a sensory output prompts an auxiliary response (e.g. the release of mitigations following sensory stimulus)
  • Biomimetic or bioinspired sensing approaches e.g. synthetic olfaction where arrays of host-guest interactions enable inference of odorant identity through patterns of binding interaction
  • Rational design of biological components (e.g. in silico or directed evolution approaches) for increased breadth of function, persistence, robustness and sensitivity of biological components within any sensing modality. This could include techniques for cycling of reagents to increase lifetime of sensor functionalities, engineering at the molecular level to increase stability of labile components, enhanced functionality/stability in non-aqueous solvents, expanded native function or introduction of novel functionalities beyond those inherent in particular biological systems and enhanced fidelity of key processes critical to the enabling molecular system.

Any sensing transduction/disclosure mechanism may be considered within this challenge area, e.g. chemical, electronic, optical and physical measurement as sensor outputs. Innovators are encouraged to consider opportunity to move beyond bacterial systems within this challenge area and harness the full span of functionalities that may exist within other biological systems and at the boundary of biology and chemistry. All innovations that include in silico design methodologies must include experimental verification of outputs.

5.4 We are interested in…

We want novel ideas to benefit end-users working in UK Defence and Security. Your proposal should include evidence of:

5.5 We are not interested in…

We are not interested in proposals that:

  • do not include a significant engineering biology component

  • solutions requiring release of viable genetically modified organisms into the environment* offer no real long-term prospect of integration into defence and security capabilities
  • offer no real prospect of out-competing existing technological solutions

  • constitute consultancy, paper-based studies or literature reviews which just summarise the existing literature without any view of future innovation (which therefore cannot be extended into future phases)

  • focus on in silico studies without experimental validation

  • Focus on a Chemical, Biological or Radiological (CBR) or medical application exclusively
  • are an unsolicited resubmission of a previous DASA bid or a duplication of a bid submitted through other Dstl funding channels seeking engineering biology proposals, such as R Cloud
  • offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf products requiring no experimental development (unless applied in a novel way to the challenge)

6. Accelerating and commercially exploiting your innovation

It is important that over the lifetime of DASA competitions, ideas are matured and accelerated towards appropriate end-users to enhance capability. How long this takes will depend on the nature and starting point of the innovation.

6.1 A clear route for commercial exploitation

For DASA to consider routes for commercial exploitation, ensure your deliverables are designed with the aim of making it as easy as possible for customers to identify the innovative elements of your proposal.

Whilst early identification and engagement with potential customers during the competition and subsequent phases are essential to implementing an exploitation plan, during the competition phase there should be no correspondence between innovators and DASA other than via the Accelerator email or their local innovation partner.

All proposals to DASA should articulate the expected development in technology maturity of the potential solution over the lifetime of the contract and how this relates to improved operational capability against the current known (or presumed) baseline.

6.2 How to outline your exploitation plan

Potential routes to exploitation of the successful outcomes from completed projects are to be considered on a per project basis. Each project will be assigned a Technical Partner who will provide the interface between the project and the defence and security community and will, where appropriate, develop potential routes to exploitation, including exploitation outside defence if appropriate. Potential routes that could be available include additional research to develop or utilise the technology for MOD of DoD programmes.

Although high risk approaches are sought there should be consideration that the resultant materials and solutions will have to be affordably manufactured at an industrial scale.

Each project will be required to be represented at an annual stakeholder day, to present the outcomes from the project and review exploitation routes.

A higher technology maturity is expected in subsequent phases. Include the following information to help the assessors understand your exploitation plans to date:

  • the intended defence or security users of your final product and whether you have previously engaged with them, their procurement arm or their research and development arm
  • awareness of, and alignment to, any existing end user procurement programmes
  • the anticipated benefits (for example, in cost, time, improved capability) that your solution will provide to the user
  • whether it is likely to be a standalone product or integrated with other technologies or platforms
  • expected additional work required beyond the end of the contract to develop an operationally deployable commercial product (for example, “scaling up” for manufacture, cyber security, integration with existing technologies, environmental operating conditions)
  • additional future applications and wider markets for exploitation
  • wider collaborations and networks you have already developed or any additional relationships you see as a requirement to support exploitation
  • how your product could be tested in a representative environment in later phases
  • any specific legal, ethical, commercial or regulatory considerations for exploitation

7. Is your exploitation plan long term?

Long term studies may not be able to articulate exploitation in great detail, but it should be clear that there is credible advantage to be gained from the technology development.

Include project specific information which will help exploitation. This competition is being carried out as part of a wider MOD programme and with cognisance of cross-Government initiatives. We may collaborate with organisations outside of the UK Government and this may provide the opportunity to carry out international trials and demonstrations in the future.

8. How to apply

8.1 Submission deadline

Midday on Thursday 25th August 2022

8.2 Where do I submit my proposal?

Via the DASA Online Submission Service for which you will be required to register.

Only proposals submitted through the DASA Online Submission Service will be accepted.

You will be required to enter your organisation’s DUNS number prior to submission of a full proposal on the DASA Online Submission Service. Please allow enough time to do this prior to submission.

Lookup or Register for a DUNS Number here. Organisations registered outside of the United Kingdom can obtain their DUNS number here.

8.3 Total funding available

This competition document covers Phase 1 of the requirement only. The total funding available for the whole Phase 1 of the competition is £1.5m (ex VAT). This funding will be split across two 12 month phases, Phase 1a and a costed optional Phase 1b, with a maximum of £750k available per sub-phase. There is no upper-limit per proposal for this competition, but we are expecting to fund around 7-8 proposals in Phase 1a, approximately £100k for each phase of work (per proposal).

Additional funding for further phases to increase TRL may be available. If there is a future phase, it will be run as a separate future DASA competition and be open to applications from all innovators and not just those who submitted successful Phase 1 bids.

8.4 For further guidance

Click here for more information on our competition process and how your proposal is assessed.

Queries should be sent to the DASA Help Centre.

8.5 What your proposal must include

  • the proposal should focus on the Phase 1a requirements but must also include a brief (uncosted) outline of the future work (following Phase 1b) required for commercial exploitation.
  • the proposal should identify if it includes the optional Phase 1b period, and detail approximate timings, deliverables and maximum total costs. If you do not wish to include a Phase 1b, please add ‘N/A’ to the ‘Phase 1b’ heading on your application.

  • when submitting a proposal, you must complete all sections of the online form, including an appropriate level of technical information to allow assessment of the bid and a completed finances section.
  • completed proposals must comply with the financial rules set for this competition. The upper-limit to deliver Phase 1a proposals is £750k (ex VAT). Proposals will be rejected if the financial cost exceeds this capped level.

  • you must include a list of other current or recent government funding you may have received in this area if appropriate, making it clear how this proposal differs from this work.
  • a project plan with clear milestones and deliverables must be provided. Deliverables must be well defined and designed to provide evidence of progress against the project plan and the end-point for this phase; they must include a final report. A four quad diagram outlining the approach at the start, and then updated to including key findings at the end, must also be provided.
  • you should also plan for attendance at a kick-off meeting at the start of Phase 1a, a mid-project event and an end of project event at the end of Phase 1a, as well as regular reviews with the appointed Technical Partner and Project Manager; all meetings will be in the UK. Meetings may also take place virtually. Approximately 9 months into the contract you should plan to provide a technical report demonstrating your work to date and a finalised plan for the additional 12 months’ work (if you have requested this in your original proposal).

  • you should also plan for attendance at an Engineering Biology Showcase, which is provisionally planned to take place in the UK in May 2023. Each project will be required to present the outcomes from the project and review exploitation routes.

  • your proposal must demonstrate how you will complete all activities/services and provide all deliverables within the competition timescales (12 months for Phase 1a, with an optional, additional 12 months for Phase 1b proposals). Proposals with any deliverables (including final report) outside the competition timeline will be rejected as non-compliant.

8.6 What your resourcing plan should include

Your resourcing plan must identify, when possible, the nationalities of proposed employees that you intend to work on this phase.

In the event of a proposal being recommended for funding, DASA reserves the right to undertake due diligence checks including the clearance of proposed employees. Please note that this process will take as long as necessary and could take up to 6 weeks in some cases for non-UK nationals.

You must identify any ethical / legal / regulatory factors within your proposal and how the associated risks will be managed, including break points in the project if approvals are not received.

MODREC approvals can take up to 5 months therefore you should plan your work programme accordingly. If you are unsure if your proposal will need to apply for MODREC approval, then please refer to the MODREC Guidance for Suppliers or contact your Innovation Partner for further guidance.

Requirements for access to Government Furnished Assets (GFA), for example, information, equipment, materials and facilities, may be included in your proposal. DASA cannot guarantee that GFA will be available. If you apply for GFA, you should include an alternative plan in case it is not available.

Failure to provide any of the above listed will automatically render your proposal non-compliant.

8.8 Export control for overseas partners

Contracts awarded as a result of this competition may fall under an extant memorandum of understanding between the UK MOD and the US DoD.

This will facilitate the unimpeded exchange of proposals, prototypes and associated information between the UK and US governments. However, this effective exemption from export controls only applies to the UK and US, not to third countries, and all innovators must therefore abide by the export control requirements of their originator country.

All relevant export control regulations will apply if a company ultimately wants to sell a developed solution to a foreign entity. All innovators must ensure that they can obtain, if required, the necessary export licences for their proposals and developments, such that they can be supplied to the UK and other countries. If you cannot confirm that you can gain the requisite licences, your proposal will be sifted out of the competition.

Additionally, if we believe that you will not be able to obtain export clearance, additional checks may be conducted, which may also result in your proposal being sifted out of the competition.

8.9 Cyber risk assessment

Supplier Assurance Questionnaire (SAQ)

Innovators must complete a Supplier Assurance Questionnaire (SAQ)] using the DASA Risk Assessment Reference (RAR) for this competition: RAR- 598230952 and answer questions for risk level “Very Low”.

DASA has completed a Cyber Risk Assessment (CRA) for this competition. In order to submit to this competition innovators are required to work towards cyber resilience. If selected for funding, the innovator must prove cyber resilience before a contract will be awarded.

Where the lead innovator intends to subcontract any element of the proposal they must assess the Cyber Risk Profile of the subcontract and, if the Cyber Risk Profile is higher than ‘Not Applicable’, require their subcontractor to complete a SAQ.

Defence Cyber Protection Partnership

The Defence Cyber Protection Partnership (DCPP) will review your SAQ submission and respond with a reference number within 2 working days. The completed SAQ form and resulting email response from DCPP must be downloaded and included within the DASA submission service portal when the proposal is submitted. Please allow enough time to receive the SAQ reference number prior to competition close at midday on Thursday 25th August 2022.

If the proposal is being funded, the SAQ will be evaluated against the CRA for the competition, and it will be put it into one of the following categories:

  1. compliant – no further action
  2. not compliant – if successful in competition and being funded, the innovator will be required to complete a Cyber Implementation Plan (CIP) before the contract is placed, which will need to be reviewed and agreed with the relevant project manager

Innovators can enter a proposal without all controls in place, but are expected to have all the cyber protection measures necessary to fulfil the requirements of the contract in place at the time of contract award, or have an agreed Cyber Implementation Plan (CIP).

The CIP provides evidence as to how and when potential innovators will achieve compliance. Provided the measures proposed in the Cyber Implementation Plan do not pose an unacceptable risk to the MOD, a submission with a Cyber Implementation Plan will be considered alongside those who can achieve the controls.

A final check will be made to ensure cyber resilience before the contract is placed. Commercial staff cannot progress without it. This process does not replace any contract specific security requirements.

Further guidance for completing this process can be requested by emailing the DASA Help Centre:[email protected]

Additional information about cyber security can be found at: DCPP: Cyber Security Model industry buyer and supplier guide.

8.10 Public facing information

When submitting your proposal, you will be required to include a title and a short abstract. The title and abstract you provide will be used by DASA, and other government departments, to describe your project and its intended outcomes and benefits. They may be included at DASA events in relation to this competition and in documentation such as brochures. The proposal title will be published in the DASA transparency data on GOV.UK, along with your company name, the amount of funding, and the start and end dates of your contract. As this information can be shared, it should not contain information that may compromise Intellectual property.

8.11 How your proposal will be assessed

At Stage 1, all proposals will be checked for compliance with this competition document and may be rejected before full assessment if they do not comply. Only those proposals that demonstrate compliance against the competition scope and DASA mandatory criteria will be taken forward to full assessment.

Mandatory Criteria

The proposal outlines how it meets the scope of the competition. #Within scope (Pass) / Out of scope (Fail)
The proposal fully explains in all three sections of the DASA submission service how it meets the DASA criteria. Pass / Fail
The proposal clearly details a financial plan, a project plan and a resourcing plan to complete the work proposed in Phase 1a. Pass / Fail
The proposal contains a credible test plan where appropriate. Pass / Fail
The proposal identifies the need (or not) for MODREC approval. Pass / Fail
The proposal clearly identifies the requirement, or not, of GFA for Phase 1a. Pass / Fail
The proposal does not exceed competition funding limit of £750k for Phase 1a (ex VAT). Pass / Fail
The proposal demonstrates how the initial research and development activities / services (including delivery of the final report) will be completed within 12 months from award of contract (or less). Pass / Fail
The bidder has obtained the authority to provide unqualified acceptance of the terms and conditions of the Contract. Pass / Fail
The bidder has done all of the following: submitted a Supplier Assurance Questionnaire (SAQ) number; attached the email from DCPP; attached the submitted SAQ form Pass / Fail
The proposal includes the approximate timings, deliverables and maximum total costs to deliver the optional Phase 1b period, OR the bidder identifies they are not applying for Phase1b. Pass / Fail

Proposals that pass Stage 1 will then be assessed against the standard DASA assessment criteria (Desirability, Feasibility and Viability) by subject matter experts from the MOD (including Dstl), other government departments, the front-line military commands, US DoD and the US Office of Naval Research Global. You will not have the opportunity to view or comment on assessors’ recommendations.

DASA reserves the right to disclose on a confidential basis any information it receives from innovators during the procurement process (including information identified by the innovator as Commercially Sensitive Information in accordance with the provisions of this competition) to any third party engaged by DASA for the specific purpose of evaluating or assisting DASA in the evaluation of the innovator’s proposal. In providing such information the innovator consents to such disclosure. Appropriate confidentiality agreements will be put in place.

Further guidance on how your proposal is assessed is available on the DASA website.

After assessment, proposals will be discussed internally at a Decision Conference where, based on the assessments, budget and wider strategic considerations, a decision will be made on the proposals that are recommended for funding.

Innovators are not permitted to attend the Decision Conference.

Proposals that are unsuccessful will receive brief feedback after the Decision Conference.

8.12 Things you should know about DASA contracts: DASA terms and conditions

Please read the DASA terms and conditions which contain important information for innovators. For this competition we will be using the Innovation Standard Contract (ISC) Terms and Schedules. We will require unqualified acceptance of the terms and conditions; if applicable, please ensure your commercial department has provided their acceptance.

Funded projects will be allocated a Project Manager (to run the project) and a Technical Partner (as a technical point of contact). In addition, the DASA team will work with you to support delivery and exploitation including, when appropriate, introductions to end-users and business support to help develop their business.

We will use deliverables from DASA contracts in accordance with our rights detailed in the contract terms and conditions. This competition is jointly funded by the MOD and the US DoD, and MOD shall share all deliverables with, and provide rights of use to information therein to, US DoD under and in accordance with the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding.

For this competition, £750k is currently available to fund proposals in Phase 1a. There may be occasions when additional funding may become available to allow us to revisit proposals deemed suitable for funding. Therefore, DASA reserves the right to keep such proposals in reserve. In the event that additional funding becomes available, DASA may ask whether you would still be prepared to undertake the work outlined in your proposal under the same terms.

9. Phase 1 key dates

Dial-in Tuesday 5th July 2022
Pre bookable 1-1 telecom sessions Thursday 7th and Monday 11th July 2022
Competition closes Thursday 25th August 2022
Feedback release Wednesday 2nd November 2022
Contracting Aim to start 7 November 2022 and end 12 months later

Competition queries including on process, application, commercial, technical and intellectual property aspects should be sent to the DASA Help Centre at [email protected], quoting the competition title. If you wish receive future updates on this competition, please email the DASA Help Centre.

While all reasonable efforts will be made to answer queries, DASA reserves the right to impose management controls if volumes of queries restrict fair access of information to all potential innovators.


[2] Bioinspiration is a field based on observing the remarkable functions that characterize living organisms and trying to abstract and imitate those functions. It involves using phenomena in biology to stimulate research in non-biological science and technology. Please see Whitesides 2015 Bioinspiration: something for everyone. Interface Focus. 5: 2015003120150031 for more information.