The U.S. Air Force (USAF) Research Laboratory is sponsoring a $1 million challenge for synthetic biology solutions to reduce the cost and improve the quality for aerospace thermosets.
The challenge is focused on the use of biotechnology to create products or product precursors required by USAF. Interested parties must submit white papers on the viability of the approach to bio-synthesize two molecules A and B needed for aerospace thermosets. This is the first of three challenges and consists of three phases. Phase One is the white paper submission as previously described. Phase Two is when submitted white papers will be down-selected from the viable entrees. Potential awardees selected will then have two weeks to enter into a subsequent agreement with a company that can scale up their production concept and demonstrate capability to manufacture testable amounts with a U.S. company (if the awardees cannot manufacture the product themselves). In the third and final phase, semi-finalist teams will have one hour to pitch their concept and scale up strategy with their manufacturing partner (if needed) to the evaluation team.
The winner of the third phase will be awarded half of the prize ($500,000) based on their total cost estimate to complete the challenge. The team will then have to demonstrate that they can biosynthesize molecules A and B. Upon completion of this demonstration, the team will be given one-third of the prize award to demonstrate the viability of the concept to manufacture one gram each of A and B to test for purity. Interested parties must submit applications here on or prior to June 15, 2020.