This Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition builds on the previous Engineering Biology Phase 1 Competition launched in 2022. We are seeking new proposals that solve a range of Defence and Security challenges and enhance capability by applying engineering biology approaches. The Phase 1 Engineering Biology Competition 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 and Engineering Biology Phase 1). 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) 4  for ‘Materials’ proposals, and at least TRL3 for both ‘Power and Energy’ and ‘Sensing’ proposals by the end of the end of Phase 2.

This competition is funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and may 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 UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and other UK Government departments, and the US Department of Defense (DoD), will have access to proposals submitted under this competition in order to jointly assess which proposals to fund.

Submission deadline

Midday (GMT) Wednesday 17 January 2024.

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.

Total funding available

The total funding available for the whole Phase 2 of the competition is £500k (ex VAT). This funding will be awarded for up to 12 months.  Proposals must include a clear plan to complete the work by no later than 31 March 2025.  There is no upper-limit per proposal for this competition, but as a guide, we are expecting to fund around 3-5 proposals in Phase 2.  Additional proposals may be funded if further funding becomes available for up to 12 months.

Find out more by visiting here.

  • DASA has launched a new Themed Competition: Novel Disruptive Science Impacting Future Defence and Security
  • Funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
  • Up to £750,000 funding available for disruptive, early stage ideas and concepts that may be used as the basis for further research within the Defence Science and Technology Futures (DSTF) Programme.
  • The competition will be run over two phases

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new Themed Competition: Novel Disruptive Science Impacting Future Defence and Security. Run on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), this competition seeks exciting concepts, technologies or ideas that may disrupt the future of defence.

The outcome from Phase 1 of this competition is anticipated to be a pool of novel science and technology (S&T) ideas and concepts that may disrupt the defence landscape and have the potential to lead to radical change.

A disruptive impact is something that radically alters how we do things – this can be positive (e.g. a new capability becomes available) or negative (e.g. a new type of threat arises).

Upon completion of Phase 1, we will seek to direct further funds to a number of projects deemed to offer the most potential for Defence or Security. Phase 2 will see funded suppliers explore how to continue their research; the most promising suppliers may be allocated a proportion of £750,000 (ex VAT) to further mature their ideas or concepts.

Key dates and funding

  • £750,000 (Exc. VAT) funding is available for this Themed Competition. The value of each funded submission is £50,000
  • The deadline to submit a proposal is midday GMT Tuesday 5 December 2023

Do you have disruptive idea or concept? Read the full competition document and submit a proposal.

We are interested in low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) ideas (TRL 1-2) from any discipline that may disrupt current ways of innovating, which could in the future either benefit defence or security, or form the basis of countering a threat. We would like you to provide us with an exciting flavour of what might be possible and be disruptive.

Proposals submitted for this competition do not need to fulfil contemporary defence requirements.

To learn more about the challenge area of the competition, read the full competition document.

Supporting events


  • 31 October 2023 10:30 – 12:00pm GMT

This dial-in session will provide further details 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.

Submit a proposal

Do you have an innovation that may help develop new technologies or concepts that may disrupt the future of defence? Read the full competition document to learn more and submit a proposal.

Exciting News for Businesses in Caithness, Sutherland, and Orkney – Dive into Offshore Renewables!

Calling all businesses in Caithness, Sutherland, and Orkney with ambitions in the booming offshore renewable energy sector – the door is open for you to join the regional Fit For Offshore Renewables (F4OR) programme.

This game-changing F4OR supply chain growth initiative will be delivered by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and backed by a generous £125,000 contribution from the West of Orkney Windfarm, offshore wind power developer.

F4OR Caithness, Sutherland, and Orkney is extending a golden opportunity to up to seven companies, inviting them to embark on a demanding 12-18 month development journey. This programme has been meticulously crafted in collaboration with experts from the offshore wind industry, with a clear focus on elevating your business’s preparedness for the offshore renewable energy market.

For a comprehensive overview of the programme’s impact and achievements, please visit the link below to the F4OR Impact Report, freshly unveiled earlier this year, based on data from 2022.

F4OR Impact Report

The Defence and Security Accelerator is seeking technological solutions to detect Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance Signals with atomic magnetometers and modelling/studies on radiation induced Electron Spin Resonance measurements.

  • DASA has launched a new Market Exploration: Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance and Electron Spin Resonance for Explosives and Drugs Detection
  • This Market Exploration is being run on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
  • Submissions must be submitted by midday on 14 November 2023 GMT

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new Market Exploration, run on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), that seeks resonance innovations to detect explosives and drugs in a variety of operational contexts.

Existing technologies and techniques that currently detect illicit substances are limited in their signal-to-noise (SNR) detection and range of detectable substances. We are therefore seeking innovations that provide next generation Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance and Electron Spin Resonance for Explosives and Drugs Detection in faster time and more variety.

Do you have an innovation? Read the full Market Exploration and submit a proposal.

What technologies is this Market Exploration looking for?

This Market Exploration has two main strands of focus which can be addressed individually:

Strand 1. The development of atomic magnetometers to detect Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance signals typical from explosives and drugs in a practical realisation.

Strand 2. Modelling the feasibility of using ionising radiation to generate free radicals, in explosives which do not naturally contain any, and then detect those radicals with an Electron Spin Resonance measurement.

In particular, we are aiming to identify technologies between Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3-6 to provide a better understanding of existing market capabilities and less mature lines of development across UK and international industry and academia.

Key Dates

The deadline to submit proposals to this Market Exploration is midday on 14 November 2023 GMT.

Submit a proposal

If you have a technological innovative solution that can produce NQR and ESR signals for explosives and drugs detection, submit your proposal below.

Read the full Market Exploration document to learn more and submit a proposal.

  • DASA has launched an Innovation Focus Area called Revolutionising Biosensing: Instant Detection within Aerosol Collector Substrates
  • Funding provided by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
  • Up to £150,000 funding available for Generation-After-Next (GAN) proposals, which can detect and identify biological threats on or within filters.

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new Innovation Focus Area (IFA) called Revolutionising Biosensing: Instant Detection within Aerosol Collector Substrates. This IFA seeks innovations that will help contribute to the development of generation-after-next biosensing technologies.

This IFA is run on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

Do you have a biosensing solution? Read the full requirements and submit your proposal.

Background: The importance of biosensing

Timely detection and identification of airborne pathogens or hazardous materials is crucial for an integrated systems-based response to a malicious release. This allows for quick implementation of measures to ensure safety. One common method for collecting airborne materials is via the capture of air samples onto filters, followed by removal and the specific detection of nucleic acids or surface antigens (e.g. PCR, ELISA). However, the downstream (i.e. off filter) processing step(s) increase burden for the user and delays actionable response, such as donning respiratory protection or taking medical countermeasures. Specific identification to species level is therefore critical to ensure timely intervention. Capacity to perform the assay while the sample is still on the filter would be a significant step-change in capability.

The vision of UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Security Partners Across Government (PAG) is to develop generation-after-next biological sensing capabilities that will sustain strategic advantage and contribute a decisive edge. The MOD is currently investing in several projects developing future platforms for which filter-based collection of airborne material will remain a favourable technology option. This Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) Innovation Focus Area (IFA) is supporting efforts to leverage novel advances and techniques in the fields of sensing and filtration to understand and open the exciting potential to integrate biological sensing assays onto filters for UK defence and security applications.


This IFA is seeking proposals that present novel solutions that facilitate detection and identification of biological threat materials on or within a filter substrate. Submitted proposals must:

  • demonstrate evidence of an innovative and unique approach with practical experimentation
  • incorporate assays supporting species level specificity with good sensitivity (detect at concentration of 100 microbes per litre of air)
  • use microbe(s) to demonstrate functionality (preferably in aerosol phase)
  • reduce downstream processing burden for filter-based collection techniques
  • provide a readily discernible signal to a positive event in a rapid time frame (preferably equal to or less than 60 min)
  • reach between Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 1 and 4 by the end of contract
  • consider at onset the real world challenges to prototyping concepts across TRL 5 to 7
  • have project values of ideally between £50,000 to £150,000
  • have a project duration of no more than 12 months, including reporting

Submit a proposal

Do you have a solution or novel approach that may help Dstl develop new biosensing techniques?

Read the full competition document to learn more and submit a proposal.

Businesses across Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney aiming to enter the rapidly expanding offshore renewable energy sector can apply to a regional Fit For Offshore Renewables (F4OR) programme for the first time today (12th September 2023).

The industry leading F4OR supply chain growth programme will be delivered by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, and supported by £125,000 from offshore wind developer, the West of Orkney Windfarm.

F4OR Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney will provide up to seven companies with the opportunity to take part in the rigorous 12-18 month development programme, designed alongside offshore wind industry experts, and focused on improving business readiness for the offshore renewable energy market.

Davood Sabaei, F4OR Programme Manager at ORE Catapult, said: “We are excited to be launching our first ever F4OR programme in Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney, and we look forward to working alongside local companies on their journey towards success in offshore renewables. It is also fantastic to have endorsement and support from offshore wind developer, the West of Orkney Windfarm, as part of this programme.

“F4OR Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney will build on the success of five F4OR regional programmes delivered by ORE Catapult in the North East of Scotland, North East of England, East Anglia and Suffolk, alongside national programmes run across Scotland and UK-wide, with over 100 companies supported. Participating companies experience an average 28% increase in turnover, and many have gone on to secure a wide range of new contracts.”

Last year, the ScotWind leasing auction created a multi-million pound opportunity for offshore renewable energy projects around the Scottish coastline.

Stephen Kerr, West of Orkney Windfarm Project Director, said: “We’ve been engaging with businesses and organisations in Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney for a number of years, and although construction of ScotWind projects will not ramp up until the latter half of this decade, early engagement with the local supply chain is critical. Participation in this F4OR programme will equip forward-looking firms with the attributes they need to compete successfully for future contracts.

“The West of Orkney Windfarm has already committed to a £105 million investment initiative that will be enhanced to £140 million by third parties to support the offshore wind supply chain locally, in Scotland and across the UK ahead of a Final Investment Decision in 2026.”

JGC Engineering and Technical Services, based in Caithness, previously took part in a F4OR pilot programme.

Stephen Sutherland, Director of JGC, said: “JGC already had a presence in the offshore renewables market with some key industry leaders. However, as we were transitioning from existing markets into this new marketplace, we wanted to demonstrate to prospective clients we had the standards in place required to supply within these new and upcoming markets.

“For JGC, the programme did help us focus on areas we had not focused previously, which has also helped. What F4OR does is give your business a standard that you can market against within the renewables sector, giving prospective clients confidence in the standards you work to within your business.”

Applications are encouraged from established companies, with products or skills that are relevant to the offshore wind sector. To find out more information, go to F4OR and to apply, fill out an expression of interest form here: F4OR – ORE (

Companies have until Tuesday 31 October to express their interest in taking part in F4OR Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney. The programme will start in December 2023.

  • The West of Orkney Windfarm and ORE Catapult will attend a multi-developer supply chain event at the Robert Rendall Building, Franklin Road, Stromness, Orkney from 9am on Tuesday, September 12, hosted by Orkney Islands Council.
  • On Thursday, September 14, West of Orkney Windfarm will also host a supply chain event at the Pentland Hotel in Thurso, in partnership with Caithness Chamber of Commerce where local businesses can meet members the project team.

The Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP) has been designed to help SMEs join defence supply chains and collaborate with larger suppliers to solve defence problems. On the 7 September 2023, Cycle 3 of the DTEP programme will be closing, Cycle 4 will open for full proposals and Cycle 5 outline opens.

For an SME, DTEP not only offers funding but also the opportunity to deliver new innovations into the UK defence supply chain and a way to develop and scale up their business.

Applications to DTEP can be made by UK-based SMEs looking to form a collaboration with a UK-based higher-tier supplier to help integrate and take the novel solution to market. The key areas of interest for proposals are detailed on the DTEP portal.

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to reopen the Security Rapid Impact Innovation Open Call which seeks ideas that could enhance the UK security sector.

How much funding is available?

There is no funding limit for proposals submitted to the Security Rapid Impact Open Call, however we expect to fund bids between £100,000 – £350,000.

What is DASA looking for?

Providing security for the UK and its citizens is one of the most important and challenging responsibilities of government and is growing increasingly diverse and complex. To maintain a strategic advantage, we need to ensure the UK has capabilities to ensure public safety and deal with a broad range of challenges that disrupt our way of life.

We are open to ideas that will seek to enhance understanding of threats to UK security and safety, enable threat prevention, or enhance the threat response.

DASA expects that some proposals will be relevant to both defence and security.

  • Your project must have a realistic prospect of being completed by March 2025
  • Your project should be able to achieve an impact within a three years of the completion of the project
  • We will only fund your proposal if there is a strong security user requirement and capability need for the idea
  • You can include a further priced option for a Testing and Trialling Phase.

How mature should my idea be?

Security Rapid Impact Innovations are expected to deliver a technology model or prototype demonstration at Technology Readiness Level TRL 6 or 7 at the end of the contract. This demonstration should be at a limited scale and in the context or environment in which it is expected that the solution would be used.

Learn more and submit an Innovation Outline here.

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new Market Exploration which seeks technological solutions for the use of Facial Recognition (FR) technologies within policing and other security stakeholders. Run on behalf of the Home Office, this Market Exploration is seeking to identify higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL) capabilities that could be deployed to benefit the Home Office and Policing and within the next 18 months.

FR technology is an increasingly important capability for law enforcement and is already being used in a number of ways within UK policing and security settings to prevent and detect crime, enhance security, find wanted criminals, safeguard the vulnerable and protect people from harm. The use of FR technologies is at varying stages across UK policing and the use of this technology in an ethical and effective way is a priority for the Home Office.

The Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire and Professor Paul Taylor, National Policing Chief Scientific Adviser have jointly supported progressing the use of this technology:

“The Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire and I strongly support the development and implementation of facial recognition (FR) technology within the law enforcement sector and are encouraged by it’s potential. We firmly believe that embracing this advanced technology can significantly enhance public safety while respecting individual rights and privacy. Industry is pivotal to realisation of that mission.

“It is essential to acknowledge the concerns surrounding FR technology, particularly those relating to privacy and potential biases. However, responsible development and implementation of FR systems can address these concerns effectively. By establishing robust governance frameworks, implementing strict data protection protocols, and ensuring transparency and accountability, we can strike the right balance between public safety and individual privacy rights.

“To maximise the technological benefits and minimise the risks associated with FR, it is crucial that we support and encourage industry to continue developing capabilities which can be deployed effectively and ethically.”

Professor Paul Taylor, National Policing Chief Scientific Adviser.

Learn more and submit a proposal here.