DHS S&T Seeks Technology Solutions to Help with COVID-19 Pandemic
Friday, July 31, 2020 | Comments

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is seeking groundbreaking solutions to address current and future operational needs.

S&T issued the “Emerging Needs: COVID-19 Response & Future Mitigation” topic call through its Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP). Startups and innovators across the U.S. and around the world are invited to submit proposals by 12:00 p.m. PT on September 30. A virtual Industry Day will be held on August 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PT to discuss the solicitation and operational needs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many facets of DHS operations and the health and safety of its agents, officers and the general public. This solicitation calls for solutions for a variety of missions across DHS and state, local and other federal partners. This topic call intends to address several pressing needs and aims to prepare DHS for future operational mitigations.

“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 undersecretary for science and technology. “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.”

Applicants are required to apply one or more of following DHS-specific scenarios to frame their submissions:
• Robust and open-source application testing ecosystem to rigorously test and evaluate contact tracing applications to ensure data security
• Video analytics for self-screening Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints to monitor social distancing of passengers and TSA officers, ensure the security process progresses smoothly, and detect deviant behavior
• Products, technologies or methods that enable automatic and rapid surface disinfecting at TSA checkpoints and other DHS facilities
• Tools to help monitor, collect, integrate and deconflict quantitative open-source information from both authoritative (e.g., state and local health departments) and non-authoritative sources
• Enhanced screening procedures and methods that protect individual privacy to provide robust point-of-entry screening as employees and visitors enter a DHS building or campus

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

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