29 June 2022

Synthetic biologists – the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition is now open!

Innovate UK has now opened a DASA competition to support proposals which use synthetic biology to overcome challenges in the defence and security sectors. The total funding available for the whole Phase 1 of the competition is £1.5 million (ex VAT), split into Phase 1a and a costed optional Phase 1b.

Phase 1a seeks technologies starting at a low technology readiness level (TRL, TRL 1-2) and rising to a higher TRL (minimum TRL 3) by the end of Phase 1a over a period of 12 months. There is a total maximum of £750,000 of funding available for Phase 1a, with Innovate UK looking to fund around 7-8 proposals at approximately £100,000.

Phase 1b also has a maximum of £750,000 available. Phase 1b projects are intended to run for a maximum of 12 months and are intended to take the technology to TRL4. A Phase 2 competition is planned, but no timings or details of maximum funding have yet been released.

In 2016, Innovate UK ran its first competition looking for inventions that apply synthetic biology developments to improve the defence sector. Previous projects included increased energy for flexible body armours, tough recombinant spider silk/graphene multifunctional nanofibers for wearable personal protection and lignin-based metallic nanoparticles as anti-corrosion agents.

In the new competition, proposals addressing one or more of the following challenges are invited:

  • exploiting engineering biology for a step change in power and energy technologies
  • materials for defence
  • sensing and sensor technologies

Innovate UK are looking for proposals that involve cutting edge, multidisciplinary research with the synthetic biology as a core component. Proposals should seek to apply these tools and techniques to provide solutions reflecting a defence relevant need and that will benefit end users working in UK Defence and Security.

Applications are open now until 26 August 2022. For more information, visit the KTN website here.