DHS S&T Center of Excellence for Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense - Lead

Funding Agency:
Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Office of University Programs (OUP) is requesting applications from accredited U.S. colleges and universities to lead a consortium of universities for a Center for Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense (CBTS). OUP is also posting a separate NOFO for eligible applicants to submit single project proposals for consideration as a partner to this Center of Excellence (COE).

The DHS COEs are university consortia that work closely with DHS Components and their partners to conduct research, develop and transition mission-relevant science and technology, educate the next generation of homeland security technical experts, and train the current workforce in the latest scientific applications. Each COE is led by a U.S. college or university and involves multiple partners for varying lengths of time. COE partners include other academic institutions, industry, DHS Components, Department of Energy National Laboratories and other Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), other federal agencies that have homeland security-relevant missions, state/local/tribal governments, non-profits, and first responder organizations. DHS envisions the COEs as long-term trusted academic partners that provide an array of resources to help DHS and its partners achieve their missions, and improve their operations. OUP maintains both financial assistance and contract mechanisms for DHS to access COE capabilities. The COEs that make up the COE network are listed at https://www.dhs.gov/st-centersexcellence. The new Center will be a fully-integrated component of the COE network and will take advantage of the network's resources to develop missioncritical research, education, and technology transition programs. 

The Cross Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense Center of Excellence will research and develop solutions, protocols, and capabilities to enhance the ability of DHS and its partners to detect, assess, and respond to known and unknown biological threats and hazards that could adversely impact the Nation’s people, agriculture, and economy. There are numerous organizations across the public and private sector that have a role in detecting threats and mitigating consequences. This Center will support DHS improve its operational capabilities that contribute the Nation’s layered defense. 

COEs should describe how technologies and concepts could be integrated into DHS operations to enhance screening and bio-threat identification, assessment, and prevention. Potential approaches include the utilization of innovative technologies (e.g., screening physical cargo and passengers and data analysis to identify potential conditions that warrant greater scrutiny), optimized operational procedures, and a skilled workforce trained in latest methods to identify and respond to biological threats and their corresponding impact on health and the economy.

This COE will support a portfolio of projects that range in technical maturity, potential impact, and that address different elements of the complex challenges associated with integrating information relevant to protecting the Nation against next generation biological threats. Centers are required to develop and adhere to a systematic framework that guides project teams through appropriate developmental steps, addresses critical regulatory, market, and other business factors that will impact the likelihood that the outcome will be used by customers. 

DHS will accept only one (1) application for Center Lead from any single university for review.


  • Duke Internal: June 1, 2017
  • Sponsor Deadline: Aug. 4, 2017

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

  • Topic Area One: Detecting Threats and Disruptions to People and Global Supply Chains
  • Topic Area Two: Data Integration and Analytics 
  • Topic Area Three: Novel Operational Methods to Use Emerging Tools to Reduce Risk
  • Topic Area Four: Workforce Development 
  • Topic Area Five: Time Critical Response Support 

Eligibility Requirements

The Center Lead designation is restricted to an accredited institution of higher education in the United States, in accordance with 6 U.S.C. 188(b)(2)(A) which specifies: "The Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary for Science and Technology, shall designate a university-based center or several university-based centers for homeland security."

DHS will accept only one (1) application for Center Lead from any single university for review. Proposals must be submitted by an accredited U.S. institution of higher education that, along with its chosen partners, has the ability and capacity to conduct the required research. The applicant institution must be identified as the official lead for proposal submission and subsequent negotiations.



Amount Description

Up to $3,500,000 (subject to availability of funds) per year for 10 years 

Funding Type





Curriculum Development
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Social Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* Project summary - 2 to 4 pages
* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal.(Code ILN) https://www.grantinterface.com/Common/LogOn.aspx?eqs=ApVvmgXCk2Uj7AzWyDEJKQ2

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here: https://ors.duke.edu/sites/default/files/Applicant Instructions_FINAL.pdf

Internal Deadline

June 1, 2017

External Deadline

August 4, 2017