News story

New military armour from synthetic biology: apply for contracts

Organisations can apply for a share of £750,000 to investigate how synthetic biology can provide transparent materials for military use.


The Centre for Defence Enterprise is to invest up to £750,000 into new ways of using synthetic biology to create transparent materials that are thinner and lighter than used for existing armour and that could offer better protection.

The best ideas could share up to £1 million to develop them further in a second phase of the competition.

There is a need in the military for transparent armour that is highly robust, maintains its optical properties despite impact, and is compatible with night vision.

Synthetic biology applies engineering principles to biology to develop new biological devices and new materials.

CDE is seeking ideas in two areas:

  • novel transparent materials
  • adhesives and interlayer materials to use with transparent materials

This competition is for funding under the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

Competition information

  • the deadline for applications is at 5pm on 2 February 2017
  • the competition is open to any organisation and is for fully funded development contracts
  • contracts in the first phase are expected to be worth between £40,000 and £80,000 and to last up to 9 months
  • competition briefing events take place on 1 December and 5 December 2016
Published 15 November 2016