The Department of Homeland Security's Advanced Research Project Agency (HSARPA) has issued its first call for proposals to develop next-generation systems for detecting potential biological and chemical attacks. A bidders meeting Monday (September 29) drew a standing room crowd of some 400 university and industry representatives in Washington, D.C., eager to learn how the new agency plans to award upwards of $350 million in contracts this coming year.

"This is our first solicitation," said HSARPA Director David F. Bolka. "We are looking for generational change to meet the threats. We know some of these goals are technically challenging. We want you to give us your best effort."

HSARPA is seeking proposals to develop, field test, and commercialize sensors capable of detecting a wide range of biological and chemical agents in the open air as well as inside buildings. The systems should operate continuously, be fully autonomous, and be...

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