Novel Chemistry to Reduce the Risk from Household Products

Key Features

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £1 million to reduce the risk of common chemicals used in household and personal care products being used for non-legitimate activities.

Programme:     DASA

Award:     Share of up to £1 million

Opens: 23rd May 2019

Closes: 3rd Jul 2019

! This scheme is now closed


This Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition is seeking proposals that can reduce the risk of common chemicals used in household and personal care products being used as explosives precursors or precursors for the production of chemical or biological agents. Approaches that will offer substitutes for these compounds or additives that will reduce the risk of their misuse are welcomed.


The focus for this competition is on substances that are precursors to explosives, chemical or biological agents. Explosive, chemical and biological agents, produced for legitimate purposes, are well regulated and controlled, but there are a range of commercially available products containing precursors which can be used to make homemade versions.

Many of these precursors are available on the high street such as in household cleaning or personal care products. Precursors which are easy to extract and concentrate, and that are available in large volumes, are of particular concern.

Simply banning them is not practicable due to their legitimate uses and therefore substitutes are sought. Alternatively it may be more appropriate to use additives, which would make concentration or extraction of the precursor more difficult, rather than to actually replace it in a legitimate product.

DASA want novel ideas that will enhance UK national security. Your proposal should include evidence of:

  • innovation or a novel approach
  • clear demonstration of how the proposed work applies to the security context
  • the choice of precursor, use-case and the potential impacts of any substitute/additive on both the manufacturing process and final product viability


Proposals demonstrating novel approaches are invited against one or two of the following challenges:

Challenge 1: Substitutes

Challenge 2: Additives

Challenge 3: Priority Precursors

More information on all 3 challenges can be found here.

Funding Costs

  • Funding of £1 million is expected to be available to fund up to 10 proposals.
  • Each proposal must be lower than £125k. Proposals will be rejected if the financial cost exceeds this capped level.
  • If successful, contracts will be awarded for a maximum duration of 7 months.


DASA will not fund proposals that:

  • constitute consultancy or literature reviews which just summarise the existing literature without any view of future innovation
  • do not offer significant benefit to UK national security e.g. proposals that are primarily aimed at Commercial advantage
  • are an identical resubmission of a previous bid to DASA or wider Government without modification e.g. DNA barcoding or radioactive tracers
  • offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf formulations requiring no experimental development (unless applied in a novel way to the challenge)
  • offer a way to trace precursors more easily
  • offer no real long-term prospect of integration into manufacturing processes e.g. cannot be scaled up or prohibitively expensive
  • are unlikely to meet product safety testing requirements, especially if intended for personal care products