Defence and Security Accelerator: how your proposal is assessed

After you submit a proposal to the Defence and Security Accelerator, it’ll be assessed by subject matter experts. This guidance explains how.

Proposals must now be submitted via our new submission service.

The only way to submit a proposal to the Defence and Security Accelerator is online. Please register for a new submission service account here.

How we assess your proposals

Proposals will be assessed against the relevant Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) assessment criteria below by subject matter experts from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), including Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), and from other government departments. When people outside of UK Government are used for assessment, it will be under a non-disclosure agreement and details will be provided in advance in the relevant competition document.

Detailed guidance of what you should include in your proposal, to help you perform well against the criteria, is provided in each section of your online submission. In addition, what we are looking for in each competition is explained in our competition pages.

We reserve the right to reject a proposal before assessment if it is outside of the Defence and Security Accelerator’s scope or does not meet minimum requirements. These are described in the guidance in the online submission service for the specific competition.

For standard competitions, a number of assessors will each individually assess the proposal and score against each of the criteria. You should note that we normally allow limited time for each assessor to review your proposal. As a guideline, each assessor should be able to read, understand and assess your proposal within 1 hour and 30 minutes; where additional assessor time is allocated, this will be made clear in the competition document. A moderator will review and aggregate these assessments and make a recommendation of whether the proposal meets the minimum requirement for funding. Their recommendation is then subject to internal review before final decisions are made.

We also consider relevant departmental priorities and value for money to the UK taxpayer when deciding which proposals to fund. Certain competitions will introduce variations to the assessment process, and these will be made clear in advance in the relevance competition document, accessible via our competition pages.

Baseline Assessment Criteria

The 3 baseline assessment criteria are below.

1. Desirable

DASA funds innovations that solve defence and security challenges and for which there is clear support from the users or sponsors who will exploit them.

You should look out for things like the proposal’s alignment with a strategic need or challenge, who would benefit from the innovation. Evidence of sponsor or user buy-in for the idea is important. Ideas that are useful for both defence and security should be acknowledged.

2. Feasible

You should assess whether the idea has a good chance of success technically.

You are asked to consider whether the proposal is scientifically, technically and practically feasible. Also, how innovative the idea is, and how it compares with potential alternatives. A clear and logical plan, backed by relevant expertise, capability and appropriate resources needs to be present.

3. Viable

You should assess for evidence that the idea can be delivered within the project scope and timelines and has some realistic prospects beyond.

Look for evidence of a robust project plan which identifies any links or dependencies between work packages and milestones, and which clearly identifies measurable deliverables. We are looking at overall costs and value for money. Finally, please look at the proposer’s plans to take their innovation forward beyond the project end.

Additional guidance

The 3 baseline criteria apply to all our competitions, unless stated in the competition document for that competition. Further guidance on what we expect your proposal to cover in each of these categories is provided in the competition document for the competition you are applying for. In addition, this guidance is available in proposal submission form used to submit your proposal via our submission service.

After you submit

You’ll be able to track the progress of your application through the submission service on your dashboard. You’ll be notified by email when we’ve made a decision on whether or not to fund your proposal.

If you are successful, our commercial team will be in touch to get contracting started.

If you are not successful, we will give you written feedback to help you understand why the decision was made.


Please do not resubmit an idea that has been unsuccessful in gaining Defence and Security Accelerator funding previously, unless we have specifically encouraged a resubmission in our feedback to you.

If you are resubmitting an idea, you need to make it clear where you have made changes to address the feedback provided.

If it is not clear that you have made changes to address the feedback, we will reject the proposal before assessment. This is to ensure the best use of public money for assessing Defence and Security Accelerator proposals.

Defence and Security Accelerator

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Porton Down


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Published 8 December 2016
Last updated 1 August 2018 + show all updates
  1. We have added some clarification on how we assess your proposals.
  2. We have changed our assessment criteria for future competitions.
  3. First published.