Infectious diseases have a range of negative effects on military operations that impede combat effectiveness and increase the logistical burden for diagnosis, treatment, and evacuation. Because of the complexity of these problems, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) believes an open innovation development “Grand Challenge” strategy is most likely to quickly yield a set of disruptive solutions.
In November, the agency issued a formal Request for Information seeking sources under the “Open Innovation Services for Prizes and Challenges” effort to assist DTRA staff in defining, developing, advertising, and administering a large market stimulatory grand challenge aimed at solving problems in science and engineering related to point-of-care or point-of-need diagnostics for known, emerging, or engineered pathogens.
The grand challenge is defined as a reduction-to-practice challenge with a prize not to exceed $10M. The effort requires sources to conduct deep research to identify current research and development (R&D) investments salient to the challenge topic and, in doing so, identify fundamental science, engineering, or commercial barriers to solving problems salient to the challenge.
As a core requirement of the contract, the organizer must be able to access a technically capable community in the biological, healthcare, chemical, microelectronics sciences fields who can contribute to the challenge solution. Once the grand challenge metrics for measuring solutions and the prize amount are identified, the organizing entity must facilitate a large-scale public awareness campaign.
The contract will also require the source to perform testing and evaluation (T&E) of submitted solutions during administration of the challenge. As the challenge will directly relate to the biodefense countermeasures, certain classes of solutions must be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration and will require the T&E to be conducted in a manner conducive to such goals.
The anticipated award date is June 28, 2013. The announcement was made under Solicitation Number: HDTRA1-13-R-0012.