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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Adverse Marine Effects

The Navy is seeking ideas and best practices in mitigating adverse marine effects on composite materials.

Department of Defense

Type of Challenge: Ideas; Technology demonstration and hardware; Scientific
Partner Agencies | Federal: Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport, Office of Naval Research
Submission Start: 10/25/2019 02:00 PM ET
Submission End: 11/05/2019 02:00 PM ET


The marine community needs a robust encapsulation/coating method for composite structures and/or vehicles in order to protect them from the adverse effects of long-term seawater immersion/exposure and impact/dynamic loading.

The goal of this prize challenge is to seek solutions or technology to:

Develop a encapsulation/coating method for composite structures and/or vehicles in order to protect them from the adverse effects of long-term seawater immersion/exposure and impact/dynamic loading.  


Total Cash Prize Pool

The total prize purse is up to $755,000. Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Newport (NUWCDIVNPT) and Office of Naval Research (ONR) may select up to three Phase III winners.

Prize Breakdown

Phase 1 – Concept White Paper Contest: Up to twenty-five (25) winners will receive written invitation to participate in Phase II.

Phase II – Technology Pitches:  Up to three winners will receive a prize of $250,000 each for development of the Minimum Viable Product in accordance with their respective technology pitch and will receive written invitation to participate in Phase III. Winners of this prize will receive $75,000 for initial development of the Minimum Viable Product. They will receive the remaining $175,000 once virtual proof of life check has been completed. This shall be completed through a virtual means presenting the proof of life check to Navy experts.

Phase III – Technology Demonstration: At the conclusion of Phase III, the First Place winner will receive a prize of $5,000 and the possibility for a contract (under the Other Transaction Authority) for prototype development.

**NOTE: The Government will not be providing additional funds For Phase II and Phase III travel and accommodations at the Phase II Technology Pitch and the Phase III Technology Demonstration.**


Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions apply to all participants in the Challenge.

Agreement to Terms. By responding to this announcement, the participant agrees to comply with and be bound by the rules (including these terms and conditions) of this prize challenge and the decisions of the Government, which rules and decisions are binding and final in all matters relating to this challenge.

Security Requirements. By responding to this announcement, the participant agrees to comply with the DoDM 5200.01 (all volumes) and any revisions to this manual.

Participation by Government Support Contractors. Government support contractors will assist in the review of any data provided by participants. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) has been signed by the support contractors with the Government that precludes them from disclosing any proprietary data outside of the Government. If participants desire a separate NDA with the Government support contractors, participants should submit a NDA form, along with instructions, with their initial qualification application.

Other Transaction Authority (OTA). At the Government’s discretion, the Government may choose to award an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) award (under 10 U.S. Code, Section 2371 or 2371b) under these authorities to any chosen participant in this prize challenge. In the case of an award under 10 U.S. Code, Section 2371b, a successful prototype project may result in the further award of a follow-on OTA without additional competition. The case of an award under any of the authorities mentioned, significant quantities may be needed for field-testing.

NOTE: The Government may negotiate Government Purpose Rights when requesting proposals if an Other Transaction Authority award is contemplated.

Malware. Each participant warrants that the submission is virus free and free of malware.

Intellectual Property (IP) Rights. All data submitted under the Prize Challenge will be made available to NAVSEA and parties authorized to act on behalf of NAVSEA, including its contractors.  By accepting these Terms and Conditions, the participant consents to the use of data submitted to NAVSEA.  Any materials submitted to NAVSEA as part of a prize challenge submission become NAVSEA records and will not be returned.

The use of protective markings such as “Do Not Publicly Release – Trade Secret” or “Do Not Publicly Release – Confidential Proprietary Business Information” in the Header or Footer of the Submission is strongly encouraged where appropriate.  However, participants should be aware that the use of protective markings is not dispositive as to whether information will be released publicly pursuant to a request for records under the Freedom of Information Act, (FOIA) 5 U.S.C. §552, et. seq., as amended by the OPEN Government Act of 2007, Pub. L. No. 110-175. Any information received from the participant is considered to be a federal agency record, and as such, subject to public release under FOIA.  Decisions to disclose or withhold information received from a participant are based on the applicability of one or more of the nine FOIA exemptions, not on the existence or nonexistence of protective markings.  Only the agency’s designated FOIA Officer may determine if information sought under a FOIA request will be withheld pursuant to one or more of the nine FOIA exemptions. All FOIA requests received by NAVSEA are processed in accordance with 10 C.F.R. Part 1004.  Participants will be notified of any FOIA requests for their submissions in accordance with 29 C.F.R. § 70.26.  Participants may then have the opportunity to review materials and work with a NAVSEA FOIA representative prior to the release of materials.

By participating in this Challenge, each individual (whether participating singly or in a group) warrants and assures the Government that any data used for the purpose of submitting an entry for this Challenge, were obtained legally through authorized access to such data.

By participating in this Challenge, each individual (whether participating singly or in a group) warrants and assures the Government that there are no known or pending patents on or related to the technology proposed within the submissions or, if there are known or pending patents, that the patent holder grants to the Government a fully paid, nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to use, or have used on the Government’s behalf, the patented material.

Eligibility Requirements. Eligibility is subject to verification by the Government before cash prizes are awarded. Participants (residents or entities) who are designated by the United States Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control are not eligible to receive any cash prize in the Challenge. Participants who are listed, or become listed, on the Excluded Parties List found on, have any active exclusions, or are otherwise unable to be deemed responsible in accordance with FAR 9.104-1 based on information available in FAPIIS, are not eligible to receive any cash prize in the Challenge.

Only U.S. citizens and entities incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business in the United States are eligible to receive cash prizes in this Challenge.

Federal employees, including NAVSEA employees, and NAVSEA support contractors acting within the scope of their employment are not eligible to participate in the challenge. Likewise, members of their immediate family (spouses, children, step-children, siblings, step-siblings, parents, step-parents), and persons living in the same household, whether or not related, are not eligible to participate in any portion of this Challenge. Federal employees and contractors acting outside the scope of their employment should consult their ethics official and appropriate management before participating in the Challenge.

Individuals and organizations that are funded by NAVSEA, but not limited to, any Federally Funded Research and Development Centers and University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs), or private-sector personnel whose scope of work includes NAVSEA development or administrative support are not eligible to participate in the challenge.

Taxes. Tax treatment of prizes will be handled in accordance with U.S. Internal Revenue Service guidelines. The winners must provide a U.S. taxpayer identification number (e.g. a social security number) to receive the cash prize.

Payment. Participants selected as monetary prize winners must submit all required taxpayer identification and bank account information required to complete an electronic payment of the monetary prize. Failure to provide the Government required documents for electronic payment within 30 days of notification by the Government will result in a disqualification of the winning entry.

Government Right to Cancel, Suspend or Modify Challenge. The Government reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, suspend or modify the Challenge. These rules may be changed without prior notice, and all participants should monitor for the latest information. The Government further reserves the right to select no winners and award no prize money if the Government determines, in its sole discretion, that an award is not in the best interest of the Government.

Responsibility for Costs Incurred. Nothing in these rules, to include information on the websites publicizing the award, may be interpreted as authorizing the incurrence of any costs, or modifying the statement of work or authorizing work outside the terms and conditions of any existing agreements or contracts with the Government.

Participation in this prize challenge is at participant expense. The Government will not be responsible for any costs incurred by the participant, to include submission costs, travel costs, technology demonstration or development costs or any associated costs.

Release of Claims. The participant agrees to release and forever discharge any and all manner of claims, equitable adjustments, actions, suits, debts, appeals, and all other obligations of any kind, whether past or present, known or unknown, that have or may arise from, are related to or are in connection with, directly or indirectly, this prize challenge or the participant’s submission.

Liability. By participating in this challenge, the participant agrees to assume, and thereby has assumed, any and all risks of injury or loss in connection with, or in any way arising from participation in this challenge, or development of any submission.

Indemnification. The participant indemnifies the Government and its affiliates, directors, officers, employees against all liabilities, damages, losses, costs, fees (including legal fees), and expenses relating to any allegation or third-party legal proceeding to the extent arising from:

(A) the participant’s acts or omissions in relation to the Challenge (including the participant’s use or acceptance of any prize and the participant’s breach of these Terms); and

(B) the participant’s submissions violating any rights of any other person or entity or any obligation the participant may have with them.

Compliance with Laws. The participant agrees to follow and comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and policies.




Severability. If any term (or part of a term) of these terms or rules is invalid, illegal or unenforceable, the rest of the terms or rules will remain in effect.

Translations. In the event of any discrepancy between the English version of these terms and rules and a translated version, the English version will govern.

Governing Law. This prize challenge is subject to all applicable federal laws and regulations. ALL CLAIMS ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING TO THESE TERMS WILL BE GOVERNED BY THE FEDERAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Availability of Funds. The Government’s obligation for prizes under 10 U.S.C. 2374a is subject to availability of appropriated funds from which payment for prize purposes can be made. No legal liability on the part of the Government for any payment of prizes may arise unless appropriated funds are available to the Department of Navy for such purposes.

VI. Points of Contact:

For technical and challenge related questions, please send an email to with “Challenge Title” in the subject line.

The Government will post all questions and responses on the Federal Business Opportunities (

Contestants should expect that their questions and the Government’s responses will be made available to all those accessing the

A deadline for Industry submission of Questions is hereby established. The deadline for prize challenge question submission is 2:00 PM Eastern Time on 29 October 2019. After this date and time, the Government may not respond to questions received.

NUWCDIVNPT reserves the right to cancel, suspend, and/or modify the challenge, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures, or any other factor beyond NUWCDIVNPT’s reasonable control impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the challenge, as determined by NUWCDIVNPT in its sole discretion. NUWCDIVNPT is not responsible for, nor is it required to accept, incomplete, late, misdirected, damaged, unlawful, or illicit submissions.

Judging Criteria

Judging Panel

The Technology Pitch and Technology Demonstration will be presented to NUWCDIVNPT and ONR experts.

Judging Criteria

Phase I: The concept white paper must be submitted on time and address/outline the following areas:

  • Knowledge of topics required to complete the Challenge
  • Skills needed to complete the Challenge
  • Capabilities to meet the Challenge

The concept white paper shall be no more than five (5) pages in length in Times New Roman font and no small than size 11 font.

A panel of judges will screen all submissions for compliance with the rules and terms and conditions detailed herein.

Phase II: Each of the companies that move onto Phase II will be invited to pitch their proposal to the panel of judges during certain days.  This pitch shall include information containing the following:

  • Coating shall be capable of adhesion / bonding to E-Glass and Carbon-based laminates utilizing Epoxy and Vinyl Ester matrix systems
  • Coating shall be compatible (compatible meaning the coating shall not degrade/dissolve/decompose when in contact with salt water nor become debonded from the underlying substrate) with submergence in a saline fluid (seawater of average ocean conditions)
  • Coating shall be demonstrated to provide impact/dynamic loading protection to underlying laminate
  • Coating shall be capable of operating in the 5%-95% environmental range of ocean temperatures
  • Coated material must have similar hydrodynamic smoothness as the material without the coating.
  • Coating shall not require maintenance on a recurring basis n

In Phase II, companies will be evaluated by the review panel on a scale of 0-25 points (25 being the highest). The evaluation criteria is provided below:

Company/Topic #:


Team or Company Name / Brief Description:





BETTER SCORE  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>



Low Score                    Average                         High Score

Technical Approach

Realistic, viable and feasible technology/approach to be completed in 6 months






Comments / Notes:





Team Background and Capabilities

 Team proposed has knowledge and capacity to complete proposed work






Comments / Notes:





Proposal  Fitness

Proposal outcomes/deliverables answer the topic challenge and there is a path to a prototype






Comments / Notes:





Risk Reduction

Risks/mitigation strategies acceptable






Comments / Notes:






Proposer understands the stakeholders and beneficiaries






Comments / Notes:





Worst Score: 5 Criteria x 1 = 5

Avg. Score:   5 Criteria x 3 = 15

Best Score:   5 Criteria x 5 = 25

Total Score:

The virtual proof of life check of the Minimum Viable Product shall be presented to the Navy experts. The virtual presentation shall present a preliminary concept / design.  

Phase III: The offeror shall be evaluated based on the below demonstration and resulting data criteria (using the same matrix as previously detailed above):

  • Underlying Baseline Laminate Substrate: For the purposes of demonstration, the solid laminate substrate to which the coating is applied shall be 0.1” thick and a balanced, bi-axial construction laminate plate/panel
  • Void Content and Fiber Volume Fraction shall be quantified and will be evaluated in accordance with the matrix detailed above.
  • Mechanical Characterization of Baseline Laminate Substrate: Baseline Material property performance (Dry/Unaged) shall be characterized for both tensile and shear stiffness/strength data according to ASTM Standard D3039-14 and ASTM Standard D3518-13, respectively.  These baseline tensile and shear material properties will serve as the basis for comparison for the material degradation quantification tests below.
  • Reduced Water Absorption: Uncoated and Coated panels will be submerged in a salt bath at 65°C for a time period of 30 days utilizing a submergence facility of similar nature to those documented in and
  • During the submergence testing, daily measurements shall be taken of weight increase (%) due to water absorption in a manner consistent with the process documented in the above references (e.g. (wet weight – dry weight)/dry weight X 100%)
  • The effect of the coatings shall be quantified in terms of reductions in water absorption of the coated plates over the uncoated plates.
  • Mechanical Characterization of Aged Laminate Substrate: After material ageing due to water absorption testing, the coated and uncoated materials shall be re-characterized for tensile and shear material properties as detailed above and any degradations in stiffness and strength material properties documented.
  • The effect of the coatings shall be quantified in terms of reductions of tensile and shear material property degradation between the uncoated and coated plates
  • Coating as Mitigator of Impact Damage on Baseline Laminate Substrate: For the purposes of quantifying the potential effectiveness of the coating as an impact damage mitigator to the underlying substrate, drop tower testing shall be conducted in accordance with D7136/D7136M.  These tests shall be conducted on dry, non-soaked panels to isolate the damage mitigation capability of the coatings.
  • Uncoated and coated panels shall be impact tested and the effectiveness of the coating shall be quantified in terms of the resulting size and type of damage in the respective specimens. Reductions in damage to the laminate itself shall be the measure of effectiveness of the coating
  • In all cases, results shall be normalized to uncoated plate weight (per unit area)

How To Enter

Entries must be submitted via email to Christopher Hebert by 02:00 Eastern Time on 05 November 2019. Submissions received after the deadline will not be considered.

Submissions including attachments shall use the following filename convention:

Company or Individual Name_concept.pdf, Company or Individual Name _schematic.pdf)