How to Work With DHS S&T: 8 Programs Security Vendors Need to Know About

From product prize competitions to innovation funding for advanced technologies, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has opportunities for security vendors.

Is your company looking for ways to engage with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to advance innovations? This topic was at the forefront of discussion during a session at the 2024 SIA GovSummit, a 2-day government security conference presented by SIA and held in Washington, D.C., May 21-22. Security leaders across industry and government gathered to examine how government leverages security technologies to drive success across a wide spectrum of missions. In the session How to Work With the DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, four experts from the directorate’s Office of Industry Partnerships discussed how industry partners can work with S&T through its unique innovation-funding programs and current opportunities to adapt, develop and commercialize technologies in support of DHS missions.

DHS S&T – the research and development (R&D) arm of DHS – relies on private-sector partners to help discover scientific advancements and technological innovations that solve homeland security challenges. From entrepreneurs and academia to small businesses and large corporations, S&T has unique tools for private-sector entities to help them find new and emerging technology that can be designed, adapted and used for homeland security. These tools include:

Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD)

The BIRD Program provides grants to U.S. and Israel entities partnering to develop advanced technologies of mutual interest for homeland security and cybersecurity missions.

  • Key initiatives: BIRD Homeland Security Program, BIRD Cyber
  • Eligible innovator types: medium-sized to large businesses, small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups, academia, international

In-Q-Tel Engagement

In-Q-Tel is a resource for DHS and federal partners to find innovative and cutting-edge, venture-backed commercial technology for homeland security missions and has invested in over 750 startup companies on behalf of the government. It analyzes emerging technology, market and global competition, and evaluates technology from more than 1,000 startup companies each year.

  • Eligible innovator types: entrepreneurs and startups, international

To learn more and get involved, contact S&T at

Long Range Broad Agency Announcement (LRBAA)

LRBAA is a standing invitation for members of the scientific and technical communities to propose novel solutions for research, development, test and evaluation projects in support of the nation’s security. Solicitations are open for a five-year period, submissions are accepted to the advertised topics at any time during that period and topics are updated annually and support DHS mission areas. S&T’s 28 open topics align to DHS priorities – securing borders, securing aviation, preventing terrorism, securing cyberspace, managing incidents and protecting against terrorist attacks. LRBAA awards may consist of basic and applied research contracts, grants, cooperative agreements and/or other transactions agreements, to include technology development and demonstration.

  • Eligible innovator types: medium-sized to large businesses, small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups, national labs, recognized R&D organizations, academia, international

Prize Competitions

DHS offers prize competitions that crowdsource innovation to harness the creativity of the American public to spur groundbreaking solutions to critical homeland security challenges. S&T works with DHS partners to determine prize topics, innovation gaps or intriguing problems. Prizes – which can be in cash and nonmonetary – can be used for novel ideas and concepts or working prototypes.

  • Eligible innovator types: medium-sized to large businesses, small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups, national labs, recognized R&D organizations, academia, private citizens

More information can be found by contacting DHS at

Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP)

SVIP works with startups from around the world to develop and adapt innovative technology for operational missions. SVIP reaches out to innovation communities across the nation and the world to harness commercial R&D for government applications, co-invest in and accelerate the transition of technology to the commercial market. The program provides accelerated nondilutive funding of up to $2 million for product development to address DHS’ needs, as well as efforts around education, and provides testing environments and pilot opportunities.

  • Eligible innovator types: small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups, international

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

SBIR works with U.S. small businesses to provide quality research and develop new processes, products and technologies in support of U.S. government missions. The program is a multiphase competitive award system which provides qualified small business concerns with opportunities to propose innovative ideas that meet specific homeland security research and development technology needs, offering nondilutive development funding with SBIR data rights, to U.S. small businesses with 500 employees or fewer.

SBIR’s new Phase 0 program can help potential applicants understand the submission process, provide access to assistance resources for new applicants and collaborate with individuals committed to diversifying the science and engineering workforce through its webinars, trainings, education events, industry days, virtual one-on-one events and assistance initiatives.

  • Eligible innovator types: small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups

Targeted Broad Agency Announcement

TBAAs are time-sensitive topic solicitations that execute defined R&D to deliver practical solutions to homeland security priority needs.

  • Eligible innovator types: medium-sized to large businesses, small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups, national labs, recognized R&D organizations, academia, international

Technology Transfer and Commercialization (T2C)

T2C coordinates intellectual property rights protection, licensing, and commercialization activities while serving as the centralized point to manage technology transfer activities throughout DHS and the DHS laboratory network. Ways to work with T2C include cooperative research and development agreements, participating in the Commercialization Accelerator Program, the HSWERX program complementing R&D activities through an innovation program in support of DHS and the Homeland Security Startup Studio bringing together entrepreneurs and inventors to deliver technology solutions for homeland security.

S&T offers a Partnership Guide that provides guidance on research priorities and collaboration opportunities for companies to engage with DHS. It includes important information on how S&T supports the full life cycle of innovation for DHS, five key mission-focused areas and detailed descriptions of priority R&D, testing and evaluation needs, S&T’s partnership pathways, collaboration opportunities and innovation funding programs and how you can connect with S&T given your organization type and interests.

To take advantage of opportunities and stay connected with DHS S&T, panelist and S&T Industry Liaison Dee Parker encouraged the industry to “engage, engage, engage.”