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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/competition-wearable-technology-for-injury-prevention/competition-document-wearable-technology-for-injury-prevention
This Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition seeks proposals for innovative methods of preventing injuries including musculoskeletal injury (MSKI), environmental injury (heat and cold only) and noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) in service personnel through the use of wearable and / or nearable sensor technology with data science.
There is funding of up to £1 million available from which we anticipate funding a number of proposals. This is currently the only phase planned for this competition; though future funded activities may build on its outputs.
This competition closes at midday on 25 January 2019.
2. Competition scope
At 1 December 2017, 19.8% of UK Armed Forces personnel were medically downgraded. Of the physical injuries represented in this figure, the most common injuries were MSKI, environmental injury from heat and cold, and NIHL. As with any organisation requiring a physical presence, there is an irreducible minimum below which capability is significantly impacted; Commander Field Army is currently working to a target of 90% deployability of soldiers. In addition to the human wellbeing costs associated with these figures, the rehabilitation of manpower capability accounts for significant financial expenditure.
Defence is seeking rapid innovations to improve the deployability and overall health of service personnel through the use of sensor technology and data science. It is recognised that this opportunity could also promote a healthy living behavioural change within the Armed Forces. The aspiration is to employ practical wearable and / or nearable technology that through appropriate data analysis and reporting will provide indicators and warnings to allow for early intervention and prevention of injuries. If successful this will reduce the number of downgraded military personnel and improve the operational effectiveness and welfare of the workforce.
We welcome proposals that include wearable and / or nearable sensors (including, for example, textiles and insoles), data analysis and data management solutions that can be used to detect potential injuries and prevent them from occurring.
Any solution must be scalable across the whole force, so, cost, manufacture and scale-up should be a consideration.
Proposed solutions should be compatible with the realities of military usage. Factors such as weight, battery life, robustness (waterproofing, washproofing, dustproofing), ease of turning on and off, and military protocols are important.
Consideration must also be given to data transmission to and from the sensor technology to a platform for collation, analysis, reporting and storage, including data protection and cyber security.
Whilst we are interested in potential solutions at any level of maturity, they must be able to be trialled in a realistic military environment within the 6 months contract. By the end of the contract, and following the trial, it is expected that the product will be around Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6.
We are not just interested in novel technologies; we perceive that it is more likely that there are existing technologies which may require a relatively small level of innovation or adaptation for a military environment or to improve data parameters to inform on the 3 main injury areas. Therefore, novel use, analysis and management of data from existing wearable and / or nearable technology are also in scope.
We welcome applications from across the full range of suppliers including academia, small, medium sized enterprises (SME) and large companies.
3. Competition challenges
3.1 Injury areas and challenges
Your proposal must address at least one of the 3 injury target areas described below, but we welcome bids that apply to more than one. For each of these areas we are interested only in prevention solutions, we do not want treatment and rehabilitation solutions.We are likely to fund more bids in the MSKI area depending on the quality of proposals.
3.2 Injury target areas:
MSKI identification and prevention: applicable to any part of the body – does not need to be specific to an anatomical area
Environmental injury prevention: including heat and cold related injuries
There are 2 challenges to consider; you must address at least one of these challenges but we also welcome bids that address both. For both challenges, proposals must include consideration of storage, handling and use of personal data, data security, and compliance with all appropriate legal and ethical guidelines.
Challenge 1: Collection of relevant data from wearable and / or nearable sensor technologies. We are interested in:
- non-intrusive and safe wearable / nearable technologies for recording body metrics that could lead to the prevention of injury
- examples of possible measurements from such devices such as: joint angles, posture, alignment, blood glucose levels, heart rate, hydration levels, strike rate, biometrics, exposure to vibrations / temperature / acoustics
- battery life
- methods of transferring / uploading results in the military working environment (for example, in remote locations with no wifi or other connectivity)
- encryption of collected data stored on devices, platforms and during export
- robustness of technologies in military living and working environments. For instance:
- methods of attachment to the body which must be harmonious with other equipment a soldier might have to wear or carry including colour / camouflage requirements
- cleaning and maintenance protocols (for example similar clothing that is washed together, at high temperatures, may cause problems for textile based sensors)
- weatherproof in extreme conditions (for example wet, heat, dust, sand, and cold)
- able to withstand reasonable impact (for example dropping, falling over or knocking)
- the development of an ecosystem of technologies that feeds a global picture of a soldier(s) health
Challenge 2: Data analysis and development of ‘command tools’ using the data collected from wearable / nearable technologies. We are interested in:
- technologies that collect, process, clean and analyse data including innovative data mining, algorithms and modelling, to identify patterns that lead to injuries and thus predict them
- validation and verification of models / algorithms to ensure reliable results
- methods of communicating potential injuries to the commander to intervene before they occur
- supporting tools to enhance the value of collected data such as the ability to:
- monitor live data feeds
- store data for short periods of time off-line
- identify and flag data irregularities
- visualise outputs on portable devices which are light and transportable and useable in a range of environments
- set goals and incentives, educate the wearer and allow interrogation by the wearer
3.4 Clarification of what we want
Your proposal should include:
- novel approaches to using wearable and / or nearable technology and data science solutions to provide early warning and prevent injury in service personnel
- trialling within a military environment within the 6 month time frame to reach TRL 6
- a robust product that is capable of enduring the military lifestyle (for example, arduous conditions, environmental factors, communal living and sharing)
- scalability of the product across the whole force
3.5 Clarification of what we don’t want
For this competition we are not interested in proposals that:
- are an identical resubmission of a previous bid to DASA or MOD without modification
- constitute consultancy, paper-based studies or literature reviews that just summarise the existing literature
- offer non-technical solutions or marginal improvements to existing military capabilities
- will not reach TRL 6 by the end of the contract
- are not feasible to trial within the contract period
- provide preventative medicine, treatment or rehabilitation solutions for injury in service personnel
- use static scanning technologies or invasive technologies for injury prevention
- use novel theories for biomarkers or proxies for emerging issues which do not have a sound established scientific basis in the literature
- offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf products requiring no development (unless applied in a novel way to this challenge)
- offer no real prospect of out-competing existing off-the-shelf solutions
- offer no real long-term prospect of integration into defence and security capabilities
The trials will be conducted under the direction of the Army. This is likely to be during month 6 of the contract.
Any trial involving participants will require formal and / or ethical approval and you should factor this in as a project risk with appropriate mitigations. This will be subject to MOD Research Ethics Committee (MODREC) approval which can take 3 months. The customer will be available to support you through this process and provide any advice required. Due to the complexity of this process and anticipated short nature of each funded project, novel approaches to demonstration of use / benefit (as an alternative to trials) are additionally welcome.
You must conduct a trial within the lifetime of the contract. The Army will potentially provide soldiers to conduct the trial for your product. They will be serving soldiers and will enable true testing of products in a variety of environments and conditions. Your proposal must consider factors such as:
- detailed schedule of trial activities
- duration of trial (we suggest a minimum of 3 days in different environments)
- location of trial (and alternate if first choice unavailable)
- number of participants required
- age of participants required
- readiness of the technology for the trial and what the trial will demonstrate beyond the current state of the technology
- duration of time a device is worn during the trial (for instance, working hours only or continual use)
- how personal and medical data from the trial will be stored and handled in line with legal and ethical guidelines and relevant DEFCONs including DEFCON 532B
- any other ethical implications
- the benefit of the trial to the end user with whom you’re running the trial
- whether the data collected can be anonymised
Proposals must include a break-point prior to the trial should the earlier development work not have reached the desired TRL, and / or formal / ethical approval has not been granted. This break will also enable the evaluation and confirmation of availability of Government Furnished Assets (GFA; soldiers, facilities for trials to take place).
It is important that over the lifetime of DASA competitions, ideas are matured and accelerated towards appropriate end-users to enhance capability. Early identification and appropriate engagement with end-users during the competition is essential.
All proposals to DASA should articulate the expected development in TRL of the potential solution over the lifetime of the contract and how this relates to improved operational capability against the current known (or presumed) baseline. Your deliverables should be designed to evidence these aspects with the aim of making it as easy as possible for possible collaborators to identify the innovative elements of your proposal in order to consider all routes for exploitation. DASA Innovation Partners are available to support you with defence and security context.
You may wish to include some of the following information, where known, to help the assessors understand your exploitation plans:
- awareness of, and alignment to, any existing end-user procurement programmes
- the anticipated benefits (for example, in cost, time, improved capability) that your solution will provide to the user
- whether it is likely to be a standalone product or integrated with other technologies or platforms
- expected additional work required beyond the end of the contract to develop an operationally deployable commercial product (for example, ‘scaling up’ for manufacture, cyber security, integration with existing technologies, environmental operating conditions)
- additional future applications and wider markets for exploitation
- wider collaborations and networks you have already developed or any additional relationships you see as a requirement to support exploitation
- any additional specific legal, ethical, commercial or regulatory considerations for exploitation
5. How to apply
Proposals for funding to meet these challenges must be submitted by midday on 25 January 2019 via the DASA submission service for which you will be required to register.
The funding of up to £1 million is expected to fund a number of proposals. Proposals must be no more than £100k each. Any proposals received that are in excess of £100k will be automatically deemed non-compliant. If successful, contracts will be awarded for a maximum duration of 6 months.
Further guidance on submitting a proposal is available on the DASA website.
5.1 What your proposal must include
The proposal should focus on the current contract requirements but must also include a brief outline of any further work required for exploitation.
When submitting a proposal, you must complete all sections of the online form, including an appropriate level of technical information to allow assessment of the bid and a completed finances section.
A project plan (including details of the trial) with clear milestones and deliverables must also be provided. Deliverables must be well defined and designed to provide evidence of progress against the project plan and the end-point for this competition. Clear deliverables, consisting of raw data and reports, are to be defined to cover progress pre and post trial periods in case of issues with conducting the trial.
A resourcing plan must also be provided that identifies, where possible, the nationalities of those proposed Research Workers that you intend working on this phase. In the event of proposals being recommended for funding, the DASA reserves the right to undertake due diligence checks including the clearance of proposed Research Workers. Please note that this process will take as long as necessary and could take up to 6 weeks in some cases for non-UK nationals.
You must identify any ethical / legal / regulatory factors within your proposal and how the associated risks will be managed, including break points in the project if approvals are not received. MODREC approvals can take up to 3 months therefore you should plan your work programme accordingly. If you are unsure if your proposal will need to apply for MODREC approval, then please contact DASA for further guidance. Further details are available in the DASA guidance.
In addition, requirements for access to GFA must be included in your proposal. DASA cannot guarantee that the GFA requested will be available.
Completed proposals must comply with the financial rules set for this competition. The upper-limit for this competition is £100k.
Proposals must include costed participation at the following 2 DASA events:
- a start-up event
- a demonstration event (in addition to the trial)
Both events will be held in the UK.
Failure to provide any of the above listed will automatically render your proposal non-compliant.
5.2 Public facing information
A brief abstract will be requested if the proposal is funded. This will be used by DASA and other government departments as appropriate, to describe the project and its intended outcomes and benefits. The abstract will be used at DASA events in relation to this competition and placed on the DASA website, along with your company information and generic contact details.
5.3 How your proposal will be assessed
All proposals will be checked for compliance with the competition document and may be rejected before full assessment if they do not comply. Only those proposals that demonstrate compliance against the competition scope and DASA criteria will be taken forward to full assessment. Failure to achieve full compliance against stage 1 will render your proposal non-compliant and it will not be considered any further:
|Mandatory Criteria||Pass / Fail|
|The proposal outlines how it meets the scope of the competition||Within scope (Pass) / Out of scope (Fail)|
|The proposer accepts, unqualified, the proposed terms and conditions of the contract||Pass / Fail|
|The proposal fully explains in all three sections of the DASA submission service how it meets the DASA criteria||Pass / Fail|
|The proposal clearly details a financial plan, a project plan and a resourcing plan to complete the work proposed in phase 1||Pass / Fail|
|The proposal identifies the need (or not) for any ethical, legal, regulatory factors||Pass / Fail|
|The proposal identifies any GFA required||Pass / Fail|
|Maximum value of proposal is £100k||Pass / Fail|
|Unconditional acceptance of the contract conditions||Pass / Fail|
Proposals will then be assessed against the standard DASA assessment criteria by subject matter experts from the MOD (including Dstl), other government departments and front-line military commands. You will not have the opportunity to comment on assessors comments.
DASA reserves the right to disclose on a confidential basis any information it receives from bidders during the procurement process (including information identified by the bidder as Commercially Sensitive Information in accordance with the provisions of this competition) to any third party engaged by DASA for the specific purpose of evaluating or assisting DASA in the evaluation of the bidder’s proposal. In providing such information the bidder consents to such disclosure. Appropriate confidentiality agreements will be put in place.
Further guidance on how your proposal is assessed is available on the DASA website.
After assessment, proposals will be discussed internally at a Decision Conference where, based on the assessments, budget and wider strategic considerations, a decision will be made on the proposals that are recommended for funding.
Proposals that are unsuccessful will receive brief feedback after the Decision Conference.
5.4 Things you should know about DASA contracts
Funded projects will be allocated a Technical Partner as a technical point of contact. In addition, the DASA team will work with you to support delivery and exploitation.
We will use deliverables from DASA contracts in accordance with our rights detailed in the contract terms and conditions.
6. Phase 1 dates
|Dial in||8 January 2019 (am)|
|Pre bookable 1-1 telecom sessions||8 January 2019 (pm)|
|Competition closes||25 January 2019 at midday|
|Contracting||Aim to start contracts by March 2019 and end 6 months later|
|Trials||~ August / September 2019|
6.1 Supporting events
- 8 January 2019 (morning) – A dial-in session providing further detail on the competition and a chance to ask questions in an open forum. There will be a short description of the MODREC process for those that require it at the end of the question and answer session. If you would like to participate, please register on the Eventbrite page.
- 8 January 2019 (afternoon) – A series of 20 minute one-to-one teleconference sessions, giving you the opportunity to ask specific questions. If you would like to participate please register on the Eventbrite page.
Competition queries including on process, application, technical, commercial and intellectual property aspects should be sent to email@example.com, quoting the competition title.
While all reasonable efforts will be made to answer queries, DASA reserves the right to impose management controls if volumes of queries restrict fair access of information to all potential suppliers.