£2.8m innovation funding to boost detection of explosives, weapons and illicit drugs

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The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is launching 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.

DASA delivery manager Laurence Bickerton said:

We are looking for the best innovations to keep our communities safe from the deadliest threats we face.

To tackle this challenge, we are looking for new concepts and advances in current technology – and we are appealing far and wide for the best ideas and innovative solutions to help create a safer future for all.

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.

The deadline for Phase 1 proposal submissions is midday on 28 September 2020.

Full technical requirements and examples of use cases are available in the competition document.

The IRC competition is run on behalf of several government departments and law enforcement agencies, including:

This is the fifth run of IRC, with successful calls occurring in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016.

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