By Kara Kesler, Office of Army Prize Competitions and Army Applied SBIR Program
WASHINGTON —The U.S. Army’s premier prize competition program is launching its seventh iteration with another open call to U.S. small businesses for innovation that supports the Army’s modernization and sustainment efforts.
Hosted by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, xTechSearch 7 is the latest open-topic competition seeking novel, disruptive concepts and technology solutions with dual-use capabilities that can assist in tackling the Army’s current needs.
“Due to the broad topical nature of the competition, the xTechSearch competition series attracts small businesses across all science and technology spaces,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army prize competitions and the Army Applied SBIR Program. “The innovative, varied technologies and lasting partnerships that come out of xTechSearch competitions are critical for the Army and our continued collaboration with small businesses.”
In addition to cash prizes and engagement with Army and DOD stakeholders throughout the competition, winners of the xTechSearch 7 competition will have the opportunity to submit their project for a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research contract award up to $250,000 each. All SBIR plans are contingent on the reauthorization of the SBIR program.
While xTechSearch 7 welcomes submissions from all technology areas, critical focus areas for the competition include artificial intelligence and machine learning; advanced materials; advanced manufacturing; autonomy; cyber; electronic; human performance; immersive; network technologies; position, navigation and timing; power; software modernization; sensors; and climate and clean technologies.
xTechSearch 7 will consist of three rounds: (1) a call for short-concept white papers during which up to 50 companies will be selected and awarded $5,000; (2) technology pitches after which up to 20 companies will be awarded an additional $15,000 each and move forward to the final round; and (3) the final pitch event, where the companies will conduct a proof-of-concept demonstration to a panel of Army and DOD experts. Up to 10 small businesses will be selected as winners and awarded a prize of $25,000 each in addition to the opportunity to submit their project for a Phase I SBIR contract worth up to $250,000 each.
Between the second and third rounds, selected participants from the second round will be invited to participate in a months-long xTech Accelerator, a cohort-based program that supports the development of the finalists through educational programming, diverse mentorship, venture-building consulting, community building and exposure to Army experts.
“The xTechSearch competition series continues to be a fruitful pathway for partnerships between the Army and small businesses,” Willis said. “We’re looking forward to the transformative technologies and partnerships that emerge from the seventh iteration of xTechSearch.”
To enter the competition, eligible small businesses must submit their required materials by 5 p.m. EDT on Oct. 31, 2022.
For all competition information, go to https://www.xtech.army.mil/competition/xtechsearch-7
Established in 2018, the Army xTech Program strives to integrate small businesses and non-traditional vendors into the Army’s science and technology ecosystem by providing opportunities for direct exposure to laboratories, program executive offices and program managers from across the Army. Participants receive detailed feedback from Army and DOD stakeholders and have access to training, mentorship and other support infrastructure as they progress through the competition to determine how best to align their technology solutions with real users and buyers within the Army.
The xTech Program holds several competitions per year, from open-topic competitions such as xTechSearch, to technology-specific competitions targeting specific Army needs and challenges. For all competition information, go to https://www.xtech.army.mil/.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology provides the American Soldier with a decisive advantage in any mission by developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining the world’s finest equipment and services, and by leveraging technologies and capabilities to meet current and future Army needs. For more information, go to https://www.army.mil/asaalt/.