Innovation Opportunities: Defence and Security Accelerator

Innovation Opportunities: Defence and Security Accelerator

The Home Office and Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched two innovation competitions focused on finding technological solutions concerning the detection of weapons and the development of less lethal tools for policing and law enforcement as an alternative to firearms.

Explosives and Weapons Detection

DASA has launched a £2.8 million competition to find state of the art and technological solutions for the improved detection of explosives, weapons and illicit drugs. The Innovative Research Call (IRC) 2020 for Explosives and Weapons Detection is a cross-governmental programme that seeks proposals from industry and academia for the screening of people and/or their possessions, goods, vehicles, and buildings and areas.

To tackle this challenge, DASA are looking for new concepts and advances in current technology. The competition takes place in two phases. Up to £1 million is available in Phase 1 with proposal bids in the region of £70,000 for six months to develop proof of concept. Proposals of a higher value will be considered if appropriately justified. Proposals of higher technical readiness that do not require Phase 1 funding will still need to submit their proposals in Phase 1 in anticipation of Phase 2 funding. Up to £1.8 million will be available for proposals in Phase 2. Projects will need to develop and evaluate their prototypes or demonstrators by the end of September 2023.

Full technical requirements and examples of use cases are available in the competition document – the deadline for Phase 1 proposal submissions is midday on 28 September 2020.

The IRC competition is run on behalf of several government departments and law enforcement agencies, including CPNI, DfT, Dstl, Home Office OSCT, Metropolitan Police, Border Force and US Department for Homeland Security. This is the fifth run of IRC, with successful calls occurring in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016.


Less Lethal Weapons

DASA has launched an innovation competition to develop new capabilities for police and law enforcement agencies to stop armed or violent offenders with the minimal necessary force from distance. Advancing Less Lethal Weapons seeks proposals for innovative technologies from industry and academia that can temporarily stop a violent or armed subject to prevent the escalation of conflict or destruction of property.

The technologies would allow the use of less lethal means as an alternative to firearms in some scenarios, giving police more versatile and effective options to defuse dangerous situations to keep the public safe without having to resort to lethal force. An initial £500,000 funding is available for innovators with up to £500,000 additional funding for a later phase.

The scope of this competition, run on behalf of the Home Office, includes looking at technologies that have not been deployed operationally before and investigating combinations of technologies that may provide better solutions. The proposed technologies would need to reach a distance of 50m to meet the police requirement while up to 70m could also meet potential military requirements. The ability to mark a subject in order to ‘identify’ them at a later stage would also be desirable.

There are two tracks to the competition looking at:

  • Low maturity technologies.
  • Medium maturity technologies.

Full details of scope and tracks can be found in the competition document, the competition closes for submissions at midday BST on Thursday 15 October 2020.