News Release: DHS Announces $35M Funding Opportunity for New Center of Excellence in Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense

Release Date: 
March 20, 2017

For Immediate Release
DHS Science & Technology Press Office
Contact: John Verrico (202) 254-2385

Washington, D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced $35 million in funding opportunities for a new DHS Center of Excellence (COE) for Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense (CBTS). Accredited United States colleges and universities may submit proposals as the Center lead or as an individual partner to work with the lead institution in support of the Center’s activities.

These two related funding opportunities are posted at www.grants.gov. The deadline for submitting proposals is August 4, 2017.  DHS intends to fund this new COE for 10 years for a total of approximately $35 million through a cooperative agreement.

The overarching goal of the Center will be to research and develop solutions, protocols, and capabilities to support the identification of potential biological threats within the DHS operational environment that could disrupt critical infrastructure supply chains and the operational activities conducted at ports of entry, land borders, and other critical nodes within the supply chain.

DHS encounters persistent and emerging biological threats while working at ports of entry, land borders, and airports. Biological and chemical agents, novel biological agents, invasive species, infectious human and zoonotic diseases, and counterfeit or adulterated goods are a key focus for this Center of Excellence. These biological and chemical threats can affect our infrastructures directly, halt their productivity, disrupt DHS operations, and damage the Nation’s health and economy.  Potential approaches to address these threats include the use of innovative technologies (e.g., screening physical cargo and passengers and data analysis to identify potential conditions that warrant greater scrutiny), optimizing operational procedures, and developing a skilled workforce trained in the latest methods to identify biological threats. DHS must protect its workforce from these threats by providing tools and knowledge that can assist in reducing risk. 
DHS is soliciting proposals from multi-disciplinary research teams that will work closely with DHS and other subject matter experts that will develop successful innovations to confront the future challenges DHS faces. The teams will need various combinations of academic disciplines, including engineering, scientific, and mathematics sub-disciplines.

The S&T COEs are university consortia that work closely with DHS operating components to conduct research, develop and transition mission-relevant science and technology, and educate the next generation of homeland security technical experts. This COE will be required to engage with operational components and fully understand the operational environment to help better identify technical and training gaps. Each COE is led by a U.S. college or university and has multiple partners from universities, commercial industry, DHS, Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers, and other federal state and local agencies.

The notice of funding opportunities for the Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense Lead Institution and Partner Institution are available at grants.gov.

DHS conducted a webinar for interested applicants March 29, 2017 at 3:00 PM EDT. The recording is available on the video screen above.

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