DHS Reveals Next Research Interests

The Department of Homeland Security wants industry comment on AI, biohazard tracking, and more.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a request for comment for 11 proposed research topics the agency intends to pursue, with hopes that eligible small business partners will become more aware and attuned to those areas of study. 

The research areas were announced in a Nov. 16 pre-solicitation through Homeland’s Science and Technology Directorate Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.

These proposed areas include automated artificial-intelligence sensing technology, counterfeit microelectronic detection, a broadband interoperability platform, biological hazard detection, a mass-fatality tracking system, a wearable detector for chemical threats, low-cost diagnostic devices, and streamlined airport checkpoint technology for passengers with limited mobility. 

“The topics span a broad range of homeland security needs that give small businesses the opportunity to partner with DHS and turn their ideas into effective solutions,” Dusty Lang, the DHS SBIR director, said in a press release. “I encourage all innovative small businesses to review the topics in the Pre-Solicitation to better understand our research and development needs.”

As outlined in the summary document, some of the topics will be intended to be used for public safety needs and rescue response. Artificial intelligence monitoring, for example, will be designed for Coast Guard Command Centers to improve their radio communication systems with AI technology. 

The AI system would ideally cue watchstanders within the Coast Guard and make search and rescue devices more successful, ultimately improving existing capabilities. 

Other research topics available for business inquiry similarly look to expedite and improve standard security processes across other government agencies. 

The maximum cost ceilings for proposals stand at $150,000 for five months within phase one, and $1 million over the course of one year for phase two. 

As part of the SBIR Program, Homeland is particularly interested in working with businesses run by women and veterans. The deadline to submit questions is 5:00 p.m. ET on Dec. 14.