Assessment process and criteria

This guidance explains our competition process and how your proposal is assessed.

At the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), we have a very thorough process for deciding which proposals to fund. The below guidance sets out our full competition process including the guidance given to our assessors to assess proposals.

Competition process

The competition process is made up of 10 stages.

1. Competition opens

All competitions are launched on our Apply for funding page. If you are interested in submitting an idea for any competition, please Contact a DASA Innovation Partner to help you.

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Be the first to hear about new competitions, upcoming events and other DASA news. To join the DASA Mailing List, please send your name and organisation name to this email

2. Proposal submission

The only way to submit a proposal to DASA is online via the DASA online submission service. Login or register for an account.

Some tips to help with your submission:

  • before submitting your proposal, check the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that you agree with all of them. You may wish to check them with your commercial or legal department. Please read the Open Call terms and conditions here. The terms and conditions for a themed competition can be found within the competition document.

  • draft your proposal offline to avoid losing material when submitting online

  • be concise. Each assessor should be able to read, understand and assess your proposal within 1 hour and 30 minutes, unless otherwise stated in the competition document. Use the text boxes provided in the application form and look out for the word limits

  • attachments are limited to .png / .jpeg / Excel files only. Proposals received with text data provided as attachments may be considered non-compliant and therefore sifted out of the competition prior to full assessment.

  • only click submit when your proposal is complete. It is not possible to add any additional information to your proposal after it has been submitted

  • submit your proposal well before the deadline in case you experience any technical problems. Deadlines will not be extended. If you are having problems submitting your proposal, email us prior to the deadline on or call 01980 950000 option 3 Monday to Friday 0900-1200 only)

3. Competition close

4. Pre sift

Once you have submitted your proposal, it will pass through an initial pre-sift process. At this stage, your proposal may be rejected if it:

  • does not demonstrate impact for defence or security

  • does not outline how it meets the scope of the competition

  • is incomplete

  • if the attachments have been used for additional text data over the stated word counts in Desirability, Feasibility, Viability and Additional Information

  • is lacking technical information to allow technical assessment to take place

  • does not demonstrate how the project can be completed in the timelines

  • exceeds the funding limit or timescale stipulated

  • does not demonstrate acceptance of or comply with DASA terms and conditions

  • is not at the correct Technology Readiness Level (TRL) for the competition

  • is a resubmission of a previous proposal and does not adhere to the resubmission guidelines

Further guidance on pre sift criteria is described in the online submission service for the specific competition and in the relevant competition document, accessible via the Apply for Funding page.

5. Assessment

After the initial sifting process, experts from across UK government will be assigned to assess your proposal. 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.

During the assessment phase all proposals are assessed against the following criteria:

  • desirable: strategic fit, end user support/pull

  • feasible: technical credibility, innovation, risk, expertise of team/capability

  • viable: costs and value for money, project delivery/plan

Further guidance on assessment criteria is listed below.

6. Moderation

After assessment, a moderator will compile an overview, pulling together comments to provide a collective outcome in the form of a ‘Fund’ or ‘No Fund’ recommendation against the proposal.

7. Challenge

Stakeholders/moderators are invited to challenge the ‘Fund’ or ‘No Fund recommendation made against each proposal. Challengers present their argument both in written form for circulation and at the decision conference.

8. Decision conference

At the decision conference, key stakeholders come together to discuss the recommendation. The moderator attends the decision conference to present the ‘Fund’ or No Fund’ recommendation for the proposal and to defend the proposal against any challenges that may have been submitted. Challengers attend the decision conference to present their challenges in order to promote robust discussion prior to the ‘Fund’ or ‘No Fund’ decision being made. At the end of the decision conference, a decision is made against each proposal on whether to fund it. Innovators are not permitted to attend the Decision Conference.

9. Decision release

You’ll be able to track the progress of your application 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 shortly after the decision date to begin contracting. Once you are on contract, both DASA staff and a Technical Partner will support and advise you throughout the period of your project. Details of your proposal will be published on our website as part of our transparency data.

10. Feedback release

If you are unsuccessful, you will receive brief written feedback within a few weeks of the applicable decision date. Feedback will be made available to you via email. Feedback is prepared by the proposal moderator, and is based on comments from all assessors and discussions at the decision conference. The feedback will give the main reasons why your proposal was unsuccessful.

Please note that every DASA competition has a finite financial limit which affects the number of bids we can fund. There may be occasions where additional funding subsequently becomes available, after a decision has been released. DASA reserves the right to keep proposals ‘in reserve’ for 12 months. In the event that additional 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.

Assessment criteria

DASA uses three baseline assessment criteria; desirable, feasible and viable. The baseline criteria apply to all our competitions, unless stated in the competition document. It is important to note that criteria may be adjusted across competitions in accordance with the needs of Government customers, any criteria changes will be clearly detailed within the competition document. You should check the specific guidance that is provided within the competition document on the Apply for Funding page.

Once the criteria have been published for a particular competition, they will remain frozen for the duration of that competition.

Corresponding guidance on what we need to see in the various sections of your proposal is provided in the proposal template on our on-line submission service.

In order to give you the best chance of success, please find below guidance on the three baseline criteria that is provided to our assessors in order to assess your proposals.


DASA funds innovations that solve defence and security challenges. You should look out for things like the proposal’s alignment with a strategic need or challenge and who would benefit from the innovation. Ideas that are useful for both defence and security should be acknowledged.

Under this category, proposals should be assessed on:

Strategic fit

  • the proposal explains how the idea is innovative and is clear on the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity driving the innovation

  • the proposal identifies who in defence and/or security might benefit from and exploit the innovation if successful

  • the proposal has a clear link to a user need or challenge. This may be the challenge as specified in the competition document

Defence and security compatibility

  • the proposal outlines how the proposers idea is different to any current solutions

  • the proposal shows benefit across defence and/or security sectors

  • the proposal describes the impact for defence and/or security in terms of performance, time and cost

Exploitation beyond the Project Plan

  • the proposal outlines how the proposer expects to take the solution to market on completion of the project and who the appropriate partners would be to do so. This may include information on further phases of development or funding required for the solution to reach an appropriate Technology Readiness Level (TRL) for procurement


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, 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.

Under this category, proposals should be assessed on:

Technical Credibility

  • the proposal is scientifically, technically and practically feasible

  • the proposal has a robust testing regime with clear and quantifiable measures of progress and performance


  • the proposal assesses and provides mitigations for technical risks - to note DASA welcomes proposals that are high risk, high reward, but mitigations should be explained thoroughly

Expertise and capability

  • the proposal provides evidence of the team’s relevant expertise and experience in the technical area of the innovation, including background research and projects completed

  • the proposal provides evidence of the resources available to the team to deliver the project including facilities and labour


You should assess for evidence that the idea can be delivered within the project scope and timelines.

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.

Under this category, proposals should be assessed on:

Project Delivery

  • the proposal has a project plan in sufficient detail and identifies any links or dependencies between work packages and/or milestones

  • the proposal identifies any project risks or dependencies and has identified appropriate mitigations

  • the proposal identifies any need for Government Furnished Assets (GFA) (including Government Furnished Information (GFI)). Should GFA not be granted, the proposal identifies suitable alternatives

  • the proposal identifies any legal or ethical concerns including MODREC approval, RIPA, data protection and has put in place appropriate steps and timescales to heed these considerations

Value for Money:

  • the proposal explains what alternative sources of funding have been considered and what funding would be sought should the proposal be unsuccessful

  • the proposal describes the benefit and value for money for government, and also explains any wider value to the UK economy

Justification of Resources:

  • the proposal provides suitable break down of the total project cost, demonstrate reasoning for capital expenditure, resource and procurement cost etc…

  • the profiling of spend across milestones complies with DELIVERABLES AND PAYMENTS terms on

  • all the costs are fair and reasonable for the work done


If your proposal was unsuccessful

If you have previously submitted a proposal which was unsuccessful, please do not resubmit this proposal, unless your feedback specifically requests it.

If you were asked to resubmit your proposal, please ensure you indicate how you have addressed ALL the feedback given. Please also include your previous proposal number in your submission. It may be useful to have a conversation with your DASA Innovation Partner.

If you were previously unsuccessful and would like to submit a new proposal, which is similar in any way to your previous proposals, please contact us at

If you have previously submitted this proposal to any other government funding body, please include details in your submission. If you were not funded, please attach the feedback with your proposal. If you were funded, please detail how our funding will offer value for money for government.

If your proposal was successful

If you have previously submitted a proposal and were successful, but did not agree to DASA contract terms and conditions, please do not resubmit this proposal. Should you wish to now accept the contract terms and conditions, please email

Published 8 December 2016
Last updated 2 March 2023 + show all updates
  1. Updated the entire webpage to align with the new proposal template. This includes updates to the Assessment Criteria.

  2. Removed the following line as it is not required - “Evidence of end user buy-in for the idea is welcomed” under the "Desirable" heading.

  3. Removed the following line "Evidence of end user buy-in for the idea is welcomed" under the "Desirable" heading, such evidence is no longer desirable.

  4. Removed reference to letter of support as evidence of support.

  5. Updated resubmission guidance.

  6. Added competition process guidance and further guidance on the assessment criteria as used by our assessors

  7. We have added some clarification on how we assess your proposals.

  8. We have changed our assessment criteria for future competitions.

  9. First published.