New DASA Competition: Point of Care Diagnostics at the Front Line

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is part of the UK Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), run by the Ministry of Defence. It funds proof-of-concept research that offers a high potential benefit to defence and security in the UK.

DASA has launched a competition to fund innovative ‘Point of Care’ (PoC) diagnostics technologies that provide information to enable clinicians to earlier diagnose and ultimately treat individuals exposed to chemical and biological hazards.

Recent events have highlighted the need for the UK to develop rapid medical diagnostic technologies. These technologies will support affected individuals, first responders and personnel involved in recovery response work. However, there is a limited diagnostic capability at present within overseas theatres of operations.

DASA is seeking proposals that demonstrate feasibility of novel approaches for detection of low levels of analyte in complex sample types. Applicants are directed to focus on the development of novel sensor transduction mechanisms or concepts that have the capability of overcoming the logistical and user burden associated with current platforms. Furthermore, proposers should provide a clear description of how methodologies developed are appropriate for, or could be adapted to, the constraints of a low resource setting.

It is anticipated that successful platforms will be able to be exploited in both the military and clinical sectors with applications in deployed environments, primary and secondary healthcare settings. The ultimate goal is to provide simple-to-use PoC diagnostic devices that are capable of complex outputs to aid decision making for treatment.

DASA is interested in technologies that would enable the diagnosis of individuals exposed to a wide variety of agents, regardless of starting Technology Readiness Level (up to TRL 6). These technologies can be targeted at the agents themselves or at host biomarkers that change as a result of exposure. It is anticipated that by the end of Phase 1 all technologies will have demonstrated a minimum of TRL of 3. Future phases of work will aim to further raise the TRL technologies towards a higher TRL. Funding is provisionally available to achieve a minimum of TRL 4 by the end of the Phase 2.

If successful, contracts will be awarded for a duration of up to 12 months, although proposals of shorter duration are also valid. Additional funding for further phases to increase the TRL is potentially available. Any further phases will be open to applications from all suppliers and not just those that submitted successful Phase bids.

Funding of £500,000 is expected to fund three to five proposals. The value of proposals should range from £50,000 to £150,000.

Submissions are welcome from all organisation types and individuals, with no nationality restrictions. Applicants should first read the Accelerator terms and conditions.

Applications should be submitted by the 26 September 2019 (midday) deadline.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.