DASA themed competition: Humans In Systems

Up to £1 million in funding available for innovative technologies that have the potential to enhance innovations in Human Machine Interaction

Opportunity Details


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Approx. £50k per project for "seedling" proposals, approx. £150k per project for "development" proposals. Maximum of £175k per project.



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The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), in partnership with the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl), is delighted to launch a new Themed Competition called, ‘Humans in Systems: Accelerating Interaction Innovation’. This competition seeks innovations in Human Machine Interaction (HMI) and interface technologies and approaches to support improvements in human machine interaction and to support computer mediated teamwork and collaboration (across both human to human, and human to machine teams).

This competition seeks proposals under three challenge areas

  • Challenge Area 1: HMI innovations within the constrained space/environment.
  • Challenge Area 2: AI assistive task support, AI enabled decision support tools, and novel interface modalities
  • Challenge Area 3: Enhancing Teamwork and Collaboration
  • DASA submissions are welcome from the private sector, academia, individuals (i.e. sole traders) and Public Sector Research Establishments (PSREs). DASA will examine the legal status of organisations prior to placement of any contract. In most cases there are no nationality restrictions, however DASA individual competition documents will detail any necessary restrictions.

  • This call is interested in supporting innovation at two different maturity levels:

    • Supporting the development and exploitation of emerging low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) HMI (TRL 2-4)
    • Harnessing higher maturity innovation – We also see the value of technologies that may have been developed at higher TRLs in other industries sectors which could be repurposed for a Defence environment where the TRL would be up to TRL6.

    Completed proposals must comply with the financial rules set for this competition. The upper-limit for this competition is £175 thousand (ex VAT). Proposals will be rejected if the financial cost exceeds this capped level

  • The call is interested in funding both small ‘seedling’ project (up to £50 thousand) as well as larger ‘development’ project (up to £150 thousand). The exact number of small and development projects will be determined subject to responses. However it is likely to be in the order of approximately 4-5 seedling and 5-6 development projects.

    Additional funding for further phases to increase TRL may be available. If there will be a future phase, it will be open to applications from all innovators and not just those that submitted Phase 1 successful bids.

  • Dstl wishes to fund innovations in Human Machine Interface (HMI) technologies and interaction approaches to support improvements in human machine interaction and to support computer mediated teamwork and collaboration (across both human-human, and human-machine teams).

    This call is not focused upon one single Defence domain (Maritime, Land, Cyber, Space or Air); rather it is interested in harnessing innovations that could be employed across some or all of these domains.

  • This competition has three challenges. All three are of equal interest, and of equal importance.

    Challenge 1: HMI innovations within the constrained space environment

    This challenge seeks to enhance the interaction between people and systems within physically constrained and environmentally challenging environments. This might include: the provision of and interaction with large quantities of information and the control or interaction with un-crewed semi-autonomous or remotely controlled platforms and sensor systems from within another vehicle.

    Ideas that might help solve this challenge area may include:

    • Foldup displays and rapidly deployable interfaces
    • Wearable displays; including Helmet Mounted Augment, Mixed, or Virtual reality (VR) interfaces

    Challenge 2: AI assistive task support, AI enabled decision support tools, and novel interface modalities

    This challenge seeks to unlock task performance improvements through the provision of novel interface technologies and interaction approaches and tools to support users in areas such as: control inputs, improving situational awareness, interacting with information, making decisions.

    Ideas that might help solve this challenge area may include:

    • Contextually aware hardware & software which adapts the display, interface functionality and user interaction to suit the task and environmental situation.
    • Multi-model interfaces, especially natural dialogue or gesture based.
    • Interaction technologies that support mobile users i.e. not constrained to a fixed workstation

    Challenge 3: Enhancing Teamwork and Collaboration

    This areas is focused on tools which may benefit both co-located and distributed teams engaged in collaborative and co-operative working. Often teams operate within constrained systems, architectures, and workstations; where the introduction and implementation of new team aids is prohibitive.

    Ideas that might help solve this challenge area may include:

    • novel technologies are of interest which can be used to support shared situational awareness, which task collaboration might work alongside and yet independently of core systems.
    • collaboration tools within Virtual and Augmented Environments (e.g. exploiting and applying knowledge from the METAverse, and other VR and SE based collaboration environments).
  • 24th May 2023, 1.30-2.30pm – A dial-in session providing further detail on the problem space and a chance to ask questions in an open forum. If you would like to participate, please register on the Eventbrite page.

    If you would like help with finding a collaboration partner, contact Hazel Biggs, KTM Security and Defence.


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