DHS looks for small business tech

The Homeland Security Department is looking for a few good ideas from small businesses to help develop new antiterrorism technologies.

Officials at DHS' Science and Technology division released the Small Business Innovation Research program solicitation Friday, inviting small businesses to submit research proposals to the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA), the department's external research funding arm.

Small companies, defined as companies with less than 500 employees, will be able to apply for a six-month Phase I award to define the scientific, technical and commercial merit for a contract of $100,000 or less. Firms that are successful will be invited to apply for a two-year Phase II award, not to exceed $750,000, to further develop the idea to the prototype stage.

"In addition to acting as the driving force of our nation's economy, small businesses are leaders in developing new and unique technologies," said Charles McQueary, undersecretary for Science and Technology.

Among the research projects, DHS officials are seeking:

* New system/technologies to detect low vapor pressure chemicals.

* Advanced low-cost aerosol collectors for surveillance sensors and personal monitoring.

* Computer modeling tools for vulnerability assessment of U.S. infrastructure.

* A Marine asset tag tracking system.

* Ship compartment inspection devices.

* Advanced secure supervisory control and data acquisition and related distributed control systems

HSARPA will host a one-day workshop Nov. 17 to get feedback from industry on how businesses want to work with the department's research and development program. A similar event will be held for the academic community Dec. 15.

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