DHS S&T seeks submissions for COVID-19 mitigation and prevention

DHS S&T seeks submissions for COVID-19 mitigation and prevention

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is using its Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) to issue a call to action for startups and innovators across the world to participate in developing advanced operational technology for post-COVID-19 efforts, the agency announced.

Interested parties have to submit their proposals by 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time on September 30, 2020. This follows a discussion during a virtual Industry Day on August 18, 2020, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

DHS operations, staff and public health have all been affected by the pandemic. By asking companies to get involved, the agency hopes to find tech solutions for both existing and future challenges.

“There couldn’t be a more crucial time for us to partner with the global innovation community to address and navigate pressing challenges,” said William N. Bryan, DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science & Technology, in a prepared statement. “We know the effectiveness of sourcing commercially available solutions to solve our problem sets, and SVIP’s investment vehicle will help us to quickly develop solutions DHS components need to address health, safety and operational concerns.”

The submissions will have to address at least one of the agency’s concerns, including open-source application testing and evaluation of contact tracing apps that ensure data security, video analytics for passenger monitoring at TSA checkpoints, automatic surface disinfection methods at DHS facilities, data monitoring, collection and deconflict systems, and advanced screening at DHS points-of-entry while preserving privacy.

Many technologies for screening people to detect COVID-19 involve biometrics in some form or other.

“The solutions that result from this topic call will not only benefit DHS,” said SVIP Managing Director Melissa Oh in the announcement. “But we hope they will also enable the public here and abroad to safely gain some sense of normalcy again.”

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