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Immediate Release

Department of Defense Announces FY21 BOOST Program Awardees

The Department of Defense’s (DOD) Biotech Optimized for Operational Solutions and Tactics (BOOST) Program has awarded $5 million in total to five selected technology development proposals for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21).  The Directorate of Defense Research and Engineering for Research and Technology (DDRE(R&T)) in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) oversees the BOOST Program.

“I am pleased that DDRE(R&T) is able to provide guidance and support to advance biotechnology research and technology development across the Department through the BOOST Program,” said Dr. JihFen Lei, Principal Deputy and Acting Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Research and Technology.  “In order to maintain our Nation’s technological advantage, it is critical that DOD provides resources to bridge the gap between research and product development to accelerate the Modernization Priorities.”

BOOST aims to connect Military Service and Defense Agency biotechnologists with industry researchers and developers in order to accelerate the fielding of viable biotechnology products for our Warfighters.  The review committee, composed of OUSD(R&E) senior leaders, selected the following five proposals as FY21 awardees:

  • BLISS (BOOSTED Linear Sensing System) – submitted by Lenny Tender, Naval Research Laboratory
  • Biomanufacture of 1,2,4‐Butanetriol, a Critical Energetic Precursor – submitted by Henry Gibbons, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) – Chemical Biological Center
  • Demonstration of Electrospun Biosynthetic Spider Silk Fibers for Advanced Materials – submitted by Joseph Estevez, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division – China Lake
  • Biomanufacturing of Melanin‐Based Ablative Composites for Thermal Protection – submitted by Zheng Wang, Naval Research Laboratory
  • Biotechnology Enabled Rapid Water Quality Monitoring for Warfighter Hydration – submitted by Michael Wiederoder, CCDC – Soldier Center

To participate in the selection process, DOD laboratories or agencies submit biotechnology development proposals that meet specific criteria.  Proposals must include a demonstration of innovative biotechnology in a military environment and a viable technology transition path that engages relevant stakeholders.  The overall aim is to deliver new capabilities in a biotechnology modernization application area.

“Biotechnology will fundamentally change the future battlefield and Warfighter capabilities,” said Dr. Stephanie Rogers, Acting Principal Director for Biotechnology in the Directorate of Defense Research and Engineering for Modernization, OUSD(R&E)).  “To realize this potential, we must anticipate and generate significant progress and advancements in biotechnology.  The BOOST Program plays an integral part in supporting these advancements.”