Small Businesses, Big DHS Funding Opportunities

December 16, 2016
Maryann Lawlor
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The department seeks innovative solutions to information security, emergency response and radiation detection challenges.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now accepting proposals for its upcoming Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program for fiscal year 2016. The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate and the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) jointly issued the solicitation. S&T and DNDO are seeking technical solutions from small businesses in 13 topic areas. The pre-solicitation is available online.

SBIR is a three-phase program. During the first phase, the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of the proposed effort is assessed. Awards are limited to $100,000 for the S&T SBIR projects, and funds are typically disbursed within 45 days after selection. Only first-phase awardees are eligible to participate in subsequent phases.

The objective of the second phase is to continue the research and development effort of the completed first-phase projects. Awards are limited to $750,000 for S&T SBIR projects, which are up to 24 months in duration. 

“It is vitally important that we cast a wide net to find highly innovative solutions to the nation’s homeland security challenges,” says Dr. Reginald Brothers, undersecretary for S&T at DHS. “We know that America’s small businesses are creative problem solvers and engines of innovation, and we want to hear from them.

“We encourage eligible U.S. small businesses to explore the topic areas presented in this funding opportunity and submit proposals that capture their best thinking. We are particularly interested in receiving proposals from under-represented groups, such as women-owned small businesses and socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses,” Brothers explains.

S&T is seeking technical solutions in 10 topic areas; the DNDO is focusing on three.

S&T Topics:

  • Security systems video/audio interoperability device
  • Applicability of blockchain technology to privacy respecting identity management
  • Malware prediction for situational understanding and pre-emptive cyber defense
  • Autonomous indoor navigation and tracking of first responders
  • Internet of Things low-cost flood inundation sensor
  • Low-cost, real-time data analytics for underserved EMS agencies
  • Real-time assessment of resilience and preparedness
  • Using social media to support timely and targeted emergency response actions
  • Blockchain applications for homeland security analytics
  • Remote identity proofing alternatives to knowledge-based authentication/verification

DNDO Topics:

  • Smartphone/smart device toolkit for virtual and actual radiation detection, identification and localization
  • Plastic composite-based scintillators for multisignature radiation detectors
  • Portable linear accelerator (linac) for active interrogation systems for radiological gamma isotope source replacement

Proposal submissions are due no later than 2 p.m. EST January 20, 2016. All proposals must be submitted through the online proposal submission system.

More information about the SBIR Program is available in the program portal

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