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$35 Million for New DHS Center of Excellence in Cross-Border Threat Screening, Supply Chain Defense

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. Accredited US colleges and universities may submit proposals to be the center lead, or as an individual partner to work with the lead institution in support of its activities.

The two related funding opportunities are posted at www.grants.gov. The deadline for submitting proposals is August 4, 2017. DHS said it “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 said.

DHS said it “encounters persistent and emerging biological threats while working at ports of entry, land borders and airports.”

Consequently, “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.”

DHS said, “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, DHS noted, “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 which will work “closely with DHS and other subject matter experts” who will develop successful innovations to confront the “future challenges DHS faces.”

The teams will require various combinations of academic disciplines, including engineering, scientific and mathematics sub-disciplines.

S&T’s 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 new COE “will be required to engage with operational components and fully understand the operational environment to help better identify technical and training gaps,” DHS said.

Each COE is led by a US 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.

Here’s the notice of funding opportunities for the Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense Lead Institution and Partner Institution, also available at grants.gov.

For additional information about the DHS COEs, visit DHS S&T Centers of Excellence. DHS will conduct a webinar for interested applicants on March 29, 2017 at 3:00 PM EDT available on the Informational Webinar page.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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