1. What is the Open Call?
The Open Call is one of the funding competition mechanisms DASA uses to find proposals that address challenges faced by government stakeholders. It gives bidders the opportunity to present their ideas to defence and security stakeholders at any time, without waiting for a relevant Themed Competition.
2. What are we looking for?
The Open Call is looking for innovative ideas to improve the defence and security of the UK. Your idea could be a concept, technology or service. We currently run three distinct submission sections under the Open Call; Defence Rapid Impact, Security Rapid Impact and Innovation Focus Areas, details of each are given in the dedicated sections below.
DASA has a team of Innovation Partners that can provide you with support in working with DASA. If you’re interested in working with DASA, wonder if your idea may be relevant, want to discuss a specific competition, or need some guidance on how to submit a proposal, we encourage you to speak to your local DASA Innovation Partner.
Please note that DASA reserve the right to consider any proposal submitted under any of the submission sections if the proposal is viewed as more applicable to another section than that to which it was originally submitted.
It is expected that some proposals will be relevant to both defence and security.
3. Defence Rapid Impact
Suppliers may submit proposals into the Defence Rapid Impact section which address any defence challenge in line with the following requirements.
Defence Rapid Impact Innovations are viewed as those which will deliver a technology model or prototype demonstration at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or 7. This demonstration should be at a limited scale, in the hands of end users, and in the context or environment in which it is expected that the solution would be used. To be successful it will also have to provide evidence of how other MOD/Security business and capability requirements, such as the Defence Lines of Development (DLOD), could be satisfied should the project to be taken forward after the pilot.
Your project should have a realistic prospect of achieving an impact within a 3 year time frame from the completion of the project. Proposals will therefore only be funded if there is a strong customer requirement and capability need for the idea. Proposals could be pre-sifted from the competition prior to full assessment if user need is not explained.
No funding limit is specified, however we would typically expect to fund bids between £100K - £350K. Proposals that demonstrate value for money will be viewed favourably. Please see examples of previous funded work here.
4. Security Rapid Impact
Suppliers may submit proposals into the Security Rapid Impact section which address any security challenge in line with the following requirements.
Security Rapid Impact Innovations are viewed as those which will deliver a technology model or prototype demonstration at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or 7. 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. Your project should have a realistic prospect of achieving an impact within a 3 year time frame from the completion of the project. The project should include all of the activities that are required to provide this limited demonstration, including research and development and/or testing and trialling.
No funding limit is specified, however we would typically expect to fund bids between £100K - £350K. Proposals that demonstrate value for money will be viewed favourably. Please see examples of previous funded work here. Your project, including any Testing and Trialling, must complete by March 2025.
Proposals will only be funded if there is a strong security (or security and defence) user requirement and capability need for the idea. Proposals could be pre-sifted from the competition prior to full assessment if security user need is not explained.
We are currently seeking ideas relating to any aspect of the UK security sector. Details below are a non-exhaustive list which provide additional information regarding the strategies and business plans of security departments and agencies to help inform innovators ideas.
Law Enforcement and Border Security
- Home Office Areas of Research Interest
- Counter Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST)
- 2025 Border Force Strategy
- Police Science & Technology Strategy
- National Strategic Threat Assessment for Serious & Organised Crime
- National Security Venture Capital investment priorities
- Law Enforcement and Border Security
- Maritime Security Strategy
- Maritime and Coastguard Business Plan
- Land Transport Security Strategy
- Aviation Sector Strategy
- Advice and Guidance to implementing protective security measures
- CBRN decontamination
- NPSA research requirements
Please note, all work, including Testing and Trialling, must complete by March 2025, as such we provide the following information for maximum proposal duration submitted into each cycle of the security open call:
FY23/24 Cycle 4: 11 month projects
FY23/24 Cycle 5: 8 month projects
Read the DASA terms and conditions
Read the assessment process and criteria
4.1 Innovation Outline
For the Security Rapid Impact Competition a submitted Innovation Outline is required prior to full proposal submission, through our submission service. The Innovation Outline will enable Security departments and agencies to indicate an interest in the idea to ensure that innovators submit proposals for desirable concepts.
You should note the following guidance when you submit an Innovation Outline:
- The Innovation Outline should be a brief overview of your innovation in 500 words. You do not need to include all the information required for a full proposal
- Submissions should be made online by registering for our submission service and submitting an “Innovation Outline ”
- You will need to identify the current Technology Readiness Level of your innovation. Guidance on this can be found here
- There is no need to fully cost your idea at this stage
- By submitting an Innovation Outline, you are agreeing to the content being shared with partners across government to assess suitability for a full DASA proposal submission
We will aim for the Innovation Partner to contact you to acknowledge and discuss your idea within 10 working days of your Innovation Outline submission. Once the Innovation Partner has done all they can with you, they will advise you whether your idea is suitable for DASA funding or whether your idea is better suited to alternative routes of funding or support.
4.2 Testing and Trialling
Your project can also include a further priced option for a Testing and Trialling phase or can be comprised of Testing and Trialling only. This aims to allow you to gather further data from an operational environment and refine the innovation, trialling its suitability to meet end user’s needs.
The Testing and Trialling phase should be outlined within the full proposal under the ‘Testing and Trialling’ section and should include approximate timings, deliverables and maximum total costs. Please include any travel and subsistence as well as costs from third party sites such as airports, other national infrastructure or publically accessible location operators. Note, costings for Testing and Trialling should not be inserted into the ‘Finance’ and ‘Delivery Schedule’ sections of the proposal. If you do not wish to include a Testing and Trialling phase, please add ‘N/A’ to the ‘Testing and Trialling’ section on your submission.
An Option Condition between Demonstration and the Testing and Trialling phase will be included in any resultant Contracts awarded and the Authority will be under no obligation to exercise this option. We may cease any further participation if demonstrations (following the development phase) do not meet expectations.
5. Innovation Focus Areas
While DASA are interested in funding a broad range of projects within the Open Call, we also seek proposals to address more specific enduring challenges faced by our defence and security customers. These are called Innovation Focus Areas (IFAs). Unlike DASA Themed Competitions, these are often broad in scope and will always be open for a minimum of two Open Call cycles.
If you are interested in any of the Innovation Focus Areas, please select the relevant IFA unique identifier number when creating your submission within the Innovation Focus Areas selection choices. Please note that both defence and security IFAs can be submitted under the Innovation Focus Areas section of Open Call.
6. What should be included in your proposal?
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. It is also helpful to include a list of other current or recent government funding you may have received in this area if appropriate, making it clear how this proposal differs from this work.
A project plan with clear milestones and deliverables must be provided. Deliverables must be well defined and designed to provide evidence of progress against the project plan and the end-point for this phase; they must include a final report. You should also plan for attendance at a kick-off meeting at the start of the project and a close down meeting at the end of project. Your proposal must demonstrate how you will complete all activities/services and provide all deliverables within the timescales. Proposals with any deliverables (including final report) outside the competition timeline will be rejected as non-compliant.
A resourcing plan must also be provided that identifies, where possible, the nationalities of those proposed research workers that you intend to work on the project. In the event of proposals being recommended for funding, 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 5 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 guidance.
Requirements for access to Government Furnished Assets (GFA), for example, information, equipment, materials and facilities, should be included in your proposal. DASA cannot guarantee that GFA will be available so please propose a substitute if available.
Failure to provide any of the above listed will automatically render your proposal non-compliant.
6.1 Public facing information
When submitting your proposal, you will be required to include a proposal title and a short abstract. The title and abstract you provide will be used by DASA, and other government departments, to describe the project and its intended outcomes and benefits. It will be used for inclusion at DASA events and included in documentation such as brochures. The proposal title will also be published in the DASA transparency data, along with your company name, the amount of funding, and the start and end dates of your contract.
7. Competition process and assessment
Open Call proposals will be subject to the full competition process and assessed using the criteria as detailed on the Competition process and assessment page.
DASA reserves the right to disclose on a confidential basis any information it receives from you during the procurement process, which includes the full proposal, to any third party engaged by DASA for the specific purpose of evaluating or assisting DASA in the evaluation of your proposal. In providing such information you consent to such disclosure. Appropriate confidentiality agreements will be put in place.
Where a proposal meets the fundable requirements for a competition, but is not funded, DASA will continue to seek funding from partners across government and shall consider your proposal fundable for 12 months from the date of the decision release. We will share the abstract and title of your proposal with any other UK government departments that may express an interest in funding the proposal through DASA, in accordance with the competition document. If a budget holder within the MOD wishes to read the full proposal to decide if they will fund it, we will share it with them under these circumstances. If it is within 60 days of the original NOT FUNDED decision release date, we will share the full proposal with them without seeking your permission. If it is over 60 days since the original NOT FUNDED decision we will seek your permission before sharing the full proposal with them.
For other potential funders, we will seek your permission before sharing the full proposal regardless of the number of days since the original NOT FUNDED decision release.
In the event that funding becomes available, DASA may ask whether you would still be prepared to undertake the work outlined in your proposal under the same terms. Your official DASA feedback will indicate if your proposal was deemed fundable, but not awarded funding at the time.
Competition results are normally released on or shortly after the decision date.
7.1 Cyber risk assessment
On receipt of a ‘Fund’ decision, successful suppliers must submit a Supplier Assurance Questionnaire (SAQ). The SAQ allows suppliers to demonstrate compliance with the specified risk level and the corresponding profile in Def Stan 05-138, the levels of controls required will depend on this risk level.
Successful Suppliers will be emailed a Risk Assessment Reference (RAR) number and corresponding risk level, and must use this to complete a SAQ here. The completed SAQ form and resulting email response from Defence Cyber Protection Partnership (DCPP) must be downloaded and returned to DASA. Further guidance can be found at: DCPP: Cyber Security Model industry buyer and supplier guide.
If the SAQ reveals deficiencies then a Cyber Implementation Plan (CIP) is needed and requires approval before a contract can be awarded.
If you any questions please contact email@example.com
8. Competition closing dates
The Open Call for Innovation runs throughout the year. Assessment starts the day after the competition cycle closing date.
A list of the cycle closing dates for 2023/2024 are shown below. Proposals must be submitted through the DASA Submission Service by midday on the closing date given.
|Cycle||Competition closes at midday||Decision released by||Feedback released by|
|1||25 April 2023||12 July 2023||19 July 2023|
|2||14 June 2023||1 September 2023||8 September 2023|
|3||5 September 2023||16 November 2023||23 November 2023|
|4||29 November 2023||8 March 2024||15 March 2024|
|5||6 March 2024||5 June 2024||12 June 2024|
9. Security Exploitation
Suppliers funded through the Security Rapid Impact competition can access a range of services provided through the DASA Security Partnerships and Impact team that are designed to help suppliers consider how they might maximise the potential for their innovation to develop into a procurable capability that could enter the security market.
- Exploitation Plan:
We encourage you to develop your Exploitation Plan that ensures that you have started to identify your route to market, confirming and helping firm up plans for how you will test & trial your innovation in a relevant context.
- Business Mentoring:
Where appropriate, we can support your consideration of business growth aspects so that you can develop your organisation into a viable company that is attractive to investors, supply chain partners and buyers - ensuring both the innovation and the organisation supplying it is market ready
- Exploitation Dashboard:
Data driven reporting that identifies where a collaborative approach from Government, private sector buyers or supply chain partners could help you formulate and optimise your route to the security market.
- Exploitation Pathway Review:
Is a regular internal review meeting scheduled between DASA and Government colleagues to review the Exploitation Dashboard across the programme of work. This keeps relevant security departments and users up to date on progress with your exploitation activity and facilitates a strong collaborative approach in tackling any barriers.
- Market Entry Guidance:
Can be provided to ensure you have the opportunity to develop a suitable level of understanding about the market you are aiming to enter in terms of the market segments procurement profile, any accreditation you may need to achieve or other barriers to entry which helps develop your ‘go to market’ plan for addressable market segments
- Business to Business (B2B) Brokering:
Where your route to market involves the supply chain or private sector operators of security infrastructure, we can help you meet a range of potential partners
- Pitch Training:
Can be provided, where appropriate, to aid translation of your innovation into terms that will have impact with the operational user and buyer, honing the focus to a snappy presentation that emphasises the value of the outcome of the innovation
- Open Call Innovation Showcase:
We can help you develop new relationships through providing a platform to showcase your innovation to potential users and buyers, typically when the innovation has developed to TRL 6, and often after Pitch Training.
- Investment Showcase:
If you have indicated within your Exploitation Plan that you are keen to seek third party investment to support the scale up of your innovation, you are invited to apply to pitch to Venture Capital investors. We work closely with the new Defence and Security Seed Fund and the National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF)
- Export Ready:
DASA can facilitate your access to the Department for International Trade’s Defence and Security Export team to ensure that any international market requirements are considered early in the development of your idea.
- Annual Security Showcase:
This event provides a platform for innovations funded through DASA which may meet security user challenges and includes defence funded innovations with potential for cross-sector application