Tech partnership funds homeland IT proposals

The Center for the Commercialization of Advanced Technology, a public-private partnership supported by the Office of Naval Research and the Space and Naval Warfare Command Support Center in San Diego, last month got a record number of replies'more than 100'to its most recent request for proposals. About a quarter were for homeland security IT development.

'The number of people who have been responding has been growing steadily since we started just over two years ago,' center chairman Lou Kelly said. The center, which issues four solicitations annually, is supported by a $10.8 million two-year appropriation from Congress and funded by the Defense Department. CCAT officials expect additional funding of $7 million to be approved later this year.

'We are going into a six-week period when we and outside screeners will look at the proposals,' Kelly said. The San Diego center will give the top proposers $75,000 each to continue their research. It also will assist them in framing business plans and marketing strategies.

CCAT works with venture capital companies and government program managers to promote the projects' commercialization.

Kelly said he and center staff have met with officials of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate. 'What they tell us is they are working on projects that can be brought out very quickly,' Kelly said. The center, in contrast, funds cutting-edge research.

Among other homeland security applications, the center received proposals for security software, advanced sensors for biochemical and nuclear detection, and methods of detecting tunnels under the U.S.-Mexican border.

(Corrected 1:12 p.m. June 11, 2003)

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