DOD is taking applications for 2019’s Rapid Innovation Fund

Tech vendors, especially small businesses, could get up to $3 million in funding for "innovative technologies" that "meet critical national security needs."
Department of Defense, DOD, Pentagon
(DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

The Department of Defense has opened applications for the 2019 edition of its Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) — a program that offers up to $3 million in funding for “innovative technologies” that “meet critical national security needs.”

The defense agency posted its broad agency announcement on FedBizOpps on Friday and will be taking white paper submissions until March 8.

What’s the DOD looking for?

Per the announcement, the agency is seeking tech solutions to support the ambitions of the National Defense Strategy. The technologies proposed should be innovative but “mature” — ready for final testing and deployment. The required white paper describing a vendor’s tech solution should address how it can contribute to one or more of five key goals: enhancing military capability; accelerating DOD system development capability; reducing costs; reducing technical risks; or improving the timeliness of testing and evaluation.


The white paper should also include a description of the technical approach, timeframe and costs. White papers, once submitted, will be reviewed and select teams will be invited to stage two of the RIF process — the proposal.

Respondents from across industry and academia are invited to send in white papers, but the DOD places a special emphasis on working with small businesses.

The RIF process was first created in 2011 to support “rapid” procurement of innovative technologies. The program was made permanent by the 2017 edition of the National Defense Authorization Act. Examples of technology funded through the RIF in the past include a pocket-sized electroencephalogram to test for brain injury while in the field, a handheld device that records aircraft vibration data to help quickly identify component failure and more.

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