• The Department of Homeland Security needs innovators who can use existing data to identify biothreats, such as viruses, bacterium, pathogens and biological toxins. (Photo courtesy of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
     The Department of Homeland Security needs innovators who can use existing data to identify biothreats, such as viruses, bacterium, pathogens and biological toxins. (Photo courtesy of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences)

DHS Competition to Uncover Emerging Biothreats

October 17, 2017


Proposed solutions are due December 4.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate has launched the Hidden Signals Challenge, a $300,000 prize competition to identify novel uses of existing data to uncover emerging biothreats. The challenge calls upon innovators from a wide variety of fields to develop concepts that will identify signals and achieve timelier alerts for biothreats.

Current biothreat identification solutions depend largely on health data, which presents challenges for real-time alerts and early detection. The challenge aims to harness new technologies and data sources to pinpoint an emerging problem more quickly so that cities can resolve the situation more rapidly. Successful concepts will explore connections between multiple readily-accesible data sources to develop real-time insights that can improve public safety responses to emerging threats.

Warnings will ideally point to signals that emerge less than 10 days from the first instances of exposure, S&T officials say in a written announcement. The challenge is the first step in the design of a local, and possibly national, system to enable city-level operators to make critical and proactive decisions based on the most relevant and actionable insights.

The challenge focuses on large metropolitan areas, such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

Those interested in participating should submit concepts by 4:59 p.m. eastern time, December 4, 2017. Judges will select up to five finalists to advance to the second phase, and finalists will be awarded $20,000 to further develop concepts into detailed system designs.

For more information, visit: hiddensignalschallenge.com.

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