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Generation-after-next Wearable Technologies: Frequently Asked Questions

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General Questions

Q. Will we get access to the slides and a recording of the event?

A. Yes, event registrants have been sent slides from the event and a recording of the presentations .

Q. Who will hold the intellectual property from the project if it is funded?

A. DASA’s standard Terms and Conditions use Defcon 705, one of the IP conditions commonly used across MOD within Science and Technology contracts. It states that IP generated during the project is owned by the innovator, but the MOD can use the IP, it has user rights over the IP within certain boundaries (this use is termed Full User Rights). If the innovator is reliant on background IP with the project that was created before or outside of the project and without the use of government funding, the contract requires the innovator to provide us with this information too. In this instance, we have limited rights to use the background IP (termed Limited User Rights). The intention is not to take IP away from you as the innovator, but to enable you to own and exploit it yourself, but for MOD to have rights of use. Please ensure you detail in your proposal what you consider to be background information / IP. Please talk to your commercial and / or IP advisors if needed.

Q. Are there are restrictions on commercialising the future technology (e.g. a requirement to work with another national defence organisation)?

A. Collaborative enterprises are welcomed from a technical perspective. DASA has previously run competitions with joint funding for projects from other national defence organisations. We would need to check the work is not being funded twice, but if the work is complementary, we would be interested in it.

Q. Is MODREC needed for academic institutions if they have the approvals for projects from the university ethics and Home Office? What about animal ethics regulations?

A. Yes, MODREC is needed for anything involving human participants. We (Dstl) act as a sponsor for any project that is funded through DASA that involves human participants, and as sponsor, we need to get MODREC approval. If the project will use animals, the Home Office needs to approve the work, but it is also reviewed by a Dstl vet scientist to ensure it fits with what we need to see with respect to animal ethics.

A. Dstl still needs to be sponsor for a project involving human participation and all such studies will require MODREC approval.

Q. Can universities apply for this funding?

A. Yes, applications from academia are welcomed. Please contact your regional Innovation Partner using the mechanism described in the slides.

Q. What is the maximum duration of project allowed and how much funding is available per project? Also, is this just for TRL 2-3?

A. Contracts will ideally be for a maximum of 12 months in duration, but could be up to 14 months. Please note that all projects must finish by 28 Feb 2024 regardless of when they start (due to Dstl internal reporting). We are aiming to fund between 4 and 5 proposals; taking into consideration that the total amount available is £750K, this gives an idea of how much the individual proposals might be worth. The expected TRL range is 2-4.

Q. What is the maximum amount I can apply for? What costs can be included?

A. The maximum available total amount for the competition is £750K, which we aim to spend on 4-5 projects. There is no fixed amount given for projects; this is done to give flexibility to innovators. If a strong proposal is submitted at a cost that is a little more than implied above, there is still a good chance of it being funded. The following costs can be included in your proposal: staff costs (research, technical and supervisory (in academia) staff), materials, consumables, travel and subsistence (only if needed for the research). Equipment costs can be requested, but please note the equipment purchased will become a government owned asset at the end of the project. The following costs cannot be included: costs to attend conferences, post-graduate fees, patent fees and publishing fees. Please contact your regional IP, who can advise you on what costs are accepted.

Q. What is the collaboration survey. How will it work?

A. If you are interested in finding someone to work with (e.g. you are seeking partners with specific skills or facilities that you do not have yourself), please use the collaboration survey. The list of responses will be shared on a weekly basis (all information from the survey will be shared with all respondents to the survey).

Scope Questions

Q. Does ‘posthoc’ mean later in the day, e.g. hours later? Is the aim to have information provided ASAP or is there a required / desired time frame?

A. We are looking for a continuous assay that provides information as early as possible to aid early intervention and prevent an illness / injury occurring; standard treatment procedures can be followed after. Continuous measurement is the focus.

Q. How does this fit with medical and in vitro diagnostic (IVD) device regulations and clinical trial requirements? Typically these need to be considered at the start of any medical development.

A. Reflecting on the low TRL for the competition, we are talking about things at the proof of concept stage, i.e. asking whether it can be done at all. This information will then evidence how we see the devices fitting with the medical chain in the future. We are not looking at complete diagnostic tests at the moment, but a way of generating information that will trigger to intervene with proper in vitro tests within a systems based approach. At the moment we are considering all avenues, looking at low TRL and exploring the art of the possible rather than how we exploit the ideas.

Q. Are you looking for invasive or non-invasive solutions?

A. The solutions should be appropriate for what will be measured. If it is an invasive method, please explain why this is necessary.

Q. Does the proposal need to address a real combat situation where the technology can be used?

A. No, the solution does not need to outline a real combat situation where the technology could be used; we are not focused on specific applicability to a defence task at the moment. However, the context of how a device or technology could be used within defence scenarios in the future should be considered with downstream development goals needed to achieve this, described as part of the exploitation vision for the proposal.

Q. Would you be interested in analyses of previously collected samples taken from an appropriate environmental / occupational stress (e.g. personnel on exercise)?

A. Yes, if there is an exploitation route for the concept, e.g. a pre-injury model to give prognostic information. You would need to explain why the samples were relevant.

Q. Can a study addressing Challenge 3 address a single stressor in a novel biofluid, or is the expectation that the study would address multiple stressors?

A. A single stressor is fine, as long as the evidence supports that the fluid is credible. If your chosen biomarker is known in another biofluid, please reference measurements in both to show that the biofluid of choice is relevant. There is no expectation to look at different stressor models or multiple parameters in the same proposal. We are interested in whether the adaptability and flexibility exists that might allow the technology to be expanded to other biomarkers in the future; please explain the vision for what it might look like.

Q. Is breath a possible biosample; could bio markers in expired breath be relevant?

A. Yes to both questions. If there are relevant molecular signatures in breath, it could be a relevant biosample. The biomarker needs to be relevant to the context, evidence should be provided to support this, and the sample type should contain the biomarker.

Q. Are you looking for technologies to detect fluids; could this be air rather than liquid?

A. As long as it is air from a human, it will be in scope. If it is environmental air not in scope; e.g. volatile organics from breath would be in scope, provided the relevance and context were explained .

Q. It is possible to detect chemical signatures in air / breath. If we know what we are looking for, artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) could detect it. However, as yet we do not know how sensitive the sensor might be.

A. That is part of the question for the competition. If you have a known target and would like to assess proof of concept of the technology and what it can be used for, that would be fine, as long as the assay is in the context of the scope of the call.

Q. Would you be interested in submissions to recover samples (blood / saliva / sweat) from studies that may be undertaken and funded by MOD (e.g. as an add-on to an existing study)?

A. The question implies that there is an existing MOD-funded project and this competition would be a useful opportunity to extract additional samples / data from it. If so, additional details of why the samples would be extracted for this purpose should be supplied. Please apply the context for this and details about why the samples are relevant and what we might find in them.

Q. Could we include other bio receptors that are not on your list e.g. enzymes etc.?

A. Yes, as long as they are relevant to the context you are referring to.

Q. Can physical measures be used in combination with other measures, e.g. to predict outcomes when combined?

A. If physical measures are combined with one or more physical measure this would be out of scope. (If this is something you are interested in, please refer to the Human Augmentation Innovation Focus Area (IFA) for Open Call.) For this competition, molecular markers, or molecular markers combined with another measure, e.g. a physical measure if relevant, are the main focus. Please look at the DASA website for current funding opportunities or contact your regional Innovation Partner to discuss what the best option for you will be.

Q. Sweat monitoring can be complex or simple; testing acidity is a challenge. What are you looking for in monitoring / sensing sweat?

A. Sweat monitoring can be complex or simple; testing acidity is a challenge. What are you looking for in monitoring / sensing sweat?

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