France's Ministry of the Armed Forces Launches Call for Innovative Solutions to Combat COVID-19

France's Ministry of the Armed Forces Launches Call for Innovative Solutions to Combat COVID-19

Friday, 20 March, 2020

As part of France's plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, its Ministry of the Armed Forces has launched a call for projects to fund research on innovative solutions directly applicable to the current situation. The call is administered through the Ministry's Defence Innovation Agency, AID (Agence de l'Innovation de Défense).

The call is focussed on the search for innovative solutions, whether technological, organisational, managerial or for the adaptation of industrial processes, which could be directly mobilised in order to protect the population, support patient care, test the population, monitor the evolution of the disease at the individual level and the evolution of the pandemic, or help ease any limitations during the crisis period. Projects will need to be of sufficient technological maturity to be applicable during the current pandemic. These innovative solutions must be easily and quickly replicable and applicable nationwide.

In the context of this call, a number of areas and concrete situations have been identified for possible innovations:

  • Personal or collective protection equipment, for caregivers and populations (eg masks, Hygiaphones, etc).
  • Management of the safety distance between individuals.
  • Automation of tasks for sampling and cleaning of equipment or rooms.
  • Facilitation of the deployment of field hospitals.
  • Crisis management, referral, structuring/modularity of care chains (eg logistics management, HR, etc).
  • Production of new decontamination solutions for all types of surfaces, for small and large equipment, for living spaces, etc.
  • Mass production capacity of decontamination solutions.
  • Support for medical care (production of missing equipment or treatment, concept of recycling, diversion or other ideas to make up for these shortages).
  • Detection of the virus in the environment.
  • Diagnosis and rapid self-diagnosis and the appropriate course of action, eg mass screening, participatory screening.
  • Management of the individual and societal psychological impact (communication and awareness-raising on the crisis and the epidemic, improving the perception of the risk of epidemic, post-crisis management, etc).
  • Limitation of movement and ways to prevent transgressions.
  • Improvements to remote working (digital continuity tools, security, etc).
  • Improvement of life in isolation at home (digital but also non-digital solutions).
  • Other topics that can be justified as relevant.

The objective of the call is not limited to developing exclusively new technologies. The innovative nature of proposals may consist in reorienting existing technologies or industrial processes (for example, redirecting a perfume production plant to make hydroalcoholic gel).

A budget of €10,000,000 has been allocated for this call for projects, which aims to finance one or several relevant projects. Proposals will be accepted from all types of stakeholders, including academics, small, medium and large companies, and major groups. Partnerships involving these different types of participants are also possible. Depending on the type of funding, restrictions on the origin or size of participants may be applied. Internal proposals from civilian and military personnel of the Ministry of the Armed Forces are also welcome.

Applications must be submitted by the deadline of 12 April 2020.

Evaluation of applications will take place on an ongoing basis up until the deadline. Late applications may be evaluated, but their chances of success are greatly reduced.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.

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