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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/defence-and-security-accelerator-dasa-open-call-for-innovation/open-call-competition-document
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/or security of the UK. Your idea could be a concept, technology or service. Our Emerging Innovations category is for less mature innovations, and our Rapid Impact category is for innovations that are more developed.
2.1 Defence requirements
2.2 Security requirements
Suppliers may submit proposals under the Security Rapid Impact category to address any security challenge.
It is expected that some proposals will be relevant to both defence and security
3. Emerging Innovations
Emerging innovations are viewed as those which will deliver a proof of concept at around Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 or 4. Proof of concept might include component and/or sub-system validation in laboratory-style environment. Successful projects may be candidates for follow-on funding in the Rapid Impact category, although other funding opportunities may be available.
The majority of successful projects start at TRL 2 or 3, which means the basic concept has been formulated and the underpinning technological principles observed at the outset. No funding limit is specified, however we would typically expect to fund bids between £50K - £100K that last between 3 and 10 months. For examples of work we have funded click here.
Emerging Innovations proposals are contracted under the Innovation Standard Contract. Please review the DASA terms and conditions before submitting your proposal.
4. Defence Rapid Impact
Rapid Impact Innovations are viewed as those which will deliver a technology model or prototype demonstration at around 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 start 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.
Rapid Impact proposals are contracted under the Innovation Standard Contract. Please review the DASA terms and conditions before submitting your proposal.
5. Security Rapid Impact
Security Rapid Impact Innovations are viewed as those which will undergo a period of research and development in order to deliver a technology model or prototype demonstration at around 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.
Your project can also include a further priced option for a Testing and Trialling phase. 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.
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 security and/ or 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 related to one or more of the following government departments;
- Home Office
- Department for Transport (in relation to security departments)
- other Government Security Departments
No funding limit is specified, however we would typically expect to fund bids between £100K - £350K. Your project must complete by March 2024.
It is expected that some proposals will be relevant to both defence and security.
For this Security Rapid Impact Competition a submitted Innovation Outline is required prior to full proposal submission. To submit this outline, please visit the contact a DASA Innovation Partner page.
We will aim for the Innovation Partner to contact you within 10 working days of your Innovation Outline submission. Once the Innovation Partner has considered your outline, they will advise you whether your idea is suitable for DASA funding and provide you with guidance on the bidding process.
6. Innovation Focus Areas
Whilst DASA are interested in funding all sorts of projects, we also have some innovation focus areas(IFAs) which are enduring challenges faced by our defence and security customers. They 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 check the relevant IFA unique identifier number when creating your submission.
7. 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 send an Innovation Outline to 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.
7.1 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.
8. 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 to any third party engaged by DASA for the specific purpose of evaluating or assisting DASA in the evaluation of your proposal. For the specific purposes of considering additional funding for a competition and onward exploitation opportunities, DASA also reserves the right to share information in your proposal in-confidence with any UK Government Department. In providing such information you consent to such disclosure. Appropriate confidentiality agreements will be put in place.
Competition results are normally released on or shortly after the decision date.
8.1 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
8.2 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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).
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 (paused in 2020-2021 due to COVID-19).
9. 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 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 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 date||Feedback released|
|1||2 June 2021||30 August 2021||6 September 2021|
|Security 1 [footnote 1]||8 July 2021||30 September 2021||8 October 2021|
|2||11 August 2021||15 November 2021||22 November 2021|
|3||20 October 2021||17 January 2022||24 January 2022|
|4||5 January 2022||4 April 2022||11 April 2022|
|5||2 March 2022||5 June 2022||12 June 2022|
10. Innovation Outline
Before submitting a full proposal, you may wish to speak with an innovation partner about your idea. To do this you can submit an Innovation Outline through our submissions service.
You should note the following guidance if you submit an Innovation Outline:
You can submit an Innovation Outline for any idea
You will need to identify the current Technology Readiness Level of your innovation. Guidance on this can be found here
Submissions should be made online by registering for our submission service and submitting an “Innovation Outline – Referral to an Innovation Partner”
We will aim for the Innovation Partner to contact you within 10 working days of your Innovation Outline submission
The Innovation Outline should be a brief overview of your innovation. You do not need to include all the information required for a full proposal
There is no need to fully cost your idea at this stage
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.
The Security Rapid Impact competition dates will align with the general open call dates after cycle 1. ↩