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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Opioid Detection Challenge

Calling for novel, nonintrusive and rapid detection solutions that will help find illicit opioids in international mail.

Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology

Type of Challenge: Software and apps
Partner Agencies | Federal: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, United States Postal Inspection Service, Office of National Drug Control Policy
Submission Start: 02/27/2019 09:30 AM ET
Submission End: 04/24/2019 04:59 PM ET

This challenge is externally hosted.

You can view the challenge details here: http://www.opioiddetectionchallenge.com

Description

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gives notice of the availability of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Opioid Detection Challenge” prize competition and rules. As part of the comprehensive government effort to address the opioid crisis, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), along with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), are seeking new tools and technologies to detect opioids in parcels moving through international service centers and express consignment facilities.

The Opioid Crisis

The Opioid Crisis: The abuse of opioids such as fentanyl has created an unprecedented public health crisis across the United States. In 2017, approximately 50,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses. International mail — through both USPS and express consignment — has been identified as a route for illicit opioids entering the U.S., commonly transported in nearly pure, powdered form. Consequently, large-scale drug trafficking can occur via very small packages sent in the mail.

Seeking Solutions:

The Challenge calls on innovators in a wide range of fields, from forensic science to industrial quality assurance to artificial intelligence, to help disrupt the flow of opioids into the United States by participating in this Challenge. The Challenge seeks novel, automated, nonintrusive, user-friendly and well developed plans for tools and technologies that have the potential to quickly and accurately detect opioids in parcels, without disrupting the flow of mail.

The Opioid Detection Challenge, a multistage open innovation competition, will run from February 2019 through fall 2019 and award up to $1.55 million in cash prizes. Following the conclusion of the Challenge, the government expects to work with selected solvers to develop these prototypes into the next generation of opioid interdiction tools. The government plans to deploy these tools in international mail, express consignment facilities, and other environments across the country that call for rapid, accurate detection of opioids and related substances.

  • Stage 1: Up to eight (8) finalists will be selected to share a prize pool of $800,000 and advance to Stage 2.
  • Stage 2: Finalists will compete for a prize pool of $750,000, to be shared by a grand prize winner and a runner-up. 

Challenge Phases (Overview)

Stage 1

In Stage 1, the Challenge seeks well developed plans for novel tools and technologies that can detect opioids in parcels in international mail. Solutions should be nonintrusive, accurate and intuitive, with the potential to screen packages quickly. 

Please note solutions should meet the following requirements:

  • Solutions cannot physically penetrate the parcel in any way
  • Solutions cannot involve pretreating the parcels with powders, sprays, solutions or liquids
  • Solutions must rely on information gleaned from the physical parcel, such as height, weight, appearance, handwriting, etc.; solutions may not rely on external data, such as information about the sender and recipient, that cannot be discerned from the package itself, or information from government or private/commercial databases
  • Solutions must be moderate in size, no greater than 180″ x 81″ x 78″
  • Solutions must be able to process parcels up to 27” x 17” x 17” in size
  • Though not a requirement, solutions should ideally be able to process parcels up to 27" x 21" x 14" in size

Up to eight (8) finalists will be selected by the judges according to official Stage 1 selection criteria. Each finalist is expected to be awarded a share of the $800,000 prize pool. As part of their acceptance of the cash prize, finalists must agree to participate in Stage 2. At the conclusion of Stage 1, finalists will have the opportunity to add to their teams in order to maximize their likelihood of success through Stage 2, when teams will be developing their prototypes. In order to facilitate this, Stage 1 participants will be given the opportunity to share their contact information and submission abstracts, to be made available to finalists.

If any potential finalist is found to be ineligible, has not complied with the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions, or declines the cash prize for any reason prior to award, an alternate finalist may be selected. DHS and its partnering agencies may consider awarding nonmonetary recognition(s) to any submission(s) which are of high interest to the government, but not selected as finalists. 

Stage 2

In Stage 2, Finalists will participate in a 14-week prototyping accelerator, where they will develop their plans into testable prototypes. During this time, finalists will receive additional support, including access to mentors, guidance from government experts, educational webinars, access to additional datasets and/or information on current processes. We anticipate holding several webinars featuring guidance and open question periods with government and other experts. Training dataset(s) will be made available to finalists as required by the solution type. 

Stage 2 will culminate in a mandatory live test event, where finalists will convene at a government selected facility for on-site testing of their prototypes. A standard testing approach will be applied to all solutions. DHS will provide a set of articles on which the solutions will be tested. Test results will be a factor in determining the Stage 2 winners, but not the sole basis for selection. Test event participants will be responsible for arranging their own travel and accommodation, paid for using their Stage 1 prize award. Additional details regarding testing will be provided at the start of the prototyping accelerator.

During Stage 2, finalists from Stage 1 will compete for $750,000 in additional cash prizes. The grand prize winner is expected to be awarded $500,000, and the runner-up to be awarded $250,000. The cash prizes in Stage 2 will be distributed based on the review of the Stage 2 submissions by the judges according to the Stage 2 selection criteria, which will be shared at a later date. Please refer to the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions for further details.

Furthermore, if the government determines that the entire project has been successfully completed, there continues to be a need, and there is available funding; You and DHS or any DHS component, or USPIS may attempt to negotiate one or more new agreements for the following purposes as authorized by law:

  • An agreement with USPIS  under applicable USPS authorities as determined by USPIS
  • Follow On prototype R&D contract, Cooperative Research and Development Agreement,  or Other Transactions Agreement as authorized by law and applicable DHS or DHS component policy.
  • Follow On agreement for limited use of one or more completed prototypes in the DHS environment for test purposes for a minimum of up to one year; as authorized by applicable law and DHS or DHS component policy.
  • A Follow-On production purchase agreement in accordance with FAR Part 6.302-1, FAR 6.204, or as otherwise authorized by applicable law and DHS or DHS component policy.

Prizes

Stage One
Cash Prize Amount: $800000

Cash prizes awarded under this Challenge will be paid to the registered Entity or Team Lead directly by Luminary Labs through electronic funds transfer. Finalists are responsible for any applicable local, state, and federal taxes and reporting that may be required under applicable tax laws.

Up to eight (8) finalists will be selected to share a prize pool of $800,000 and advance to Stage 2.

Stage Two
Cash Prize Amount: $750000

Finalists will compete for a prize pool of $750,000, to be shared by a grand prize winner and a runner-up.


Rules

Submission Form

Stage 1 Challenge will be hosted on Luminary Labs’ Challenge management software, Luminary LightboxTM, and integrated with the Challenge site for a seamless user experience. To enter the Challenge, entrants must complete all required fields of the Challenge submission form on the Challenge website before the close of open submissions on April 24, 2019. The deadline for submissions is 4:59 PM EST on April 24, 2019. 

If you encounter any issues, please email hello@opioiddetectionchallenge.com with a description of the problem, a screenshot, and the date and time of the occurrence.

Export Control Notification

All participants are responsible for ensuring compliance with all export control laws and regulations that may be applicable to the export of and foreign access to their proposed technologies. Participants should consult with the Department of State with any questions regarding the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) (22 CRF Parts 120-130) and /or the Department of Commerce regarding the Export Administration Regulations (15 CRF Parts 730-774). If you are participating in this prize competition, in the absence of available license exemptions/exceptions, you are responsible for:

  • Obtaining any appropriate licenses or other approvals, if required, for exports of (including deemed exports) hardware, technical data, and software, or for the provision of technical assistance.
  • Obtaining export licenses, if required, before utilizing foreign persons in the participation of the prize competition, including but not limited to instances where the work is to be performed on-site at any Government installation (whether in or outside the United States), where the foreign person will have access to export-controlled technologies, including technical data or software.
  • All regulatory record keeping requirements associated with the use of licenses and license exemptions/exceptions.

Eligibility

The Challenge is open to legal entities and individuals (non-felons) over the age of 18.

Please note solutions should meet the following requirements:

  • Solutions cannot physically penetrate the parcel in any way
  • Solutions cannot involve pretreating the parcels with powders, sprays, solutions or liquids
  • Solutions must rely on information gleaned from the physical parcel, such as height, weight, appearance, handwriting, etc.; solutions may not rely on external data, such as information about the sender and recipient that cannot be discerned from the package itself, or information from government or private/commercial databases
  • Solutions must be moderate in size, no greater than 180″ x 81″ x 78″
  • Solutions must be able to process parcels up to 27″ x 17″ x 17″ in size
  • Though not a requirement, solutions should ideally be able to process parcels up to 27″ x 21″ x 14″ in size

Solutions that do not meet these requirements may be considered ineligible for consideration.

To submit as a domestic entrant, entrants must either:

  • Be a validly formed legal United States entity whose primary place of business is in the United States, OR
  • Have a Team Lead who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States

To submit as an international entrant, entrants must either:

  • Be a legal entity incorporated outside of the United States, and whose primary place of business is not in the United States, OR
  • Have a Team Lead who is not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States

Eligibility is subject to verification by the government before cash prizes are awarded. Entrants (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.

An individual or entity that is determined to be on the GSA Excluded Parties List (www.sam.gov) is ineligible to receive a cash prize and will not be selected as a Challenge winner. To search the list, click here,  then click on the icon in the lower right, labeled “Search Records” and follow the instructions on the search page.

Officers, directors, advisory board members, Luminary Lab employees and its contractors (with the express exception of Luminary Labs’ authorized solver community), support contractors of the federal government directly involved in the administering of this Challenge, and judges are ineligible to compete in this 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 the Challenge. Note: The members of an individual’s household include any other person who shares the same residence as such individual for at least three months out of the year. In addition, foreign government entities are not eligible for entry.

The following are the eligibility requirements for individuals or entities to win a cash prize under this Challenge:

(1) Entrants to this Challenge shall have registered to participate in the Challenge under the rules promulgated by the government and Luminary Labs in accordance with the description provided on the Challenge website.

(2) Entrants to this Challenge shall have complied with all of the requirements on the official Challenge website.

(3) Individuals and entities, otherwise eligible to win a prize, may form and submit a team entry. Teams are strongly encouraged. Each team member must be clearly identified on the team’s submission form for the team to be eligible. Team winnings, as determined by the Challenge Sponsor, will be distributed to the designated Team Lead for further distribution to team members. In the event a dispute regarding the identity of the entrant who actually submitted the entry cannot be resolved to the government’s satisfaction, the affected entry will be deemed ineligible.

(4) Entrants to this Challenge agree to be bound by the rules of the Challenge, agree that the decision of the judges for this Challenge are final and binding, and acknowledge that their submission may be the subject of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and that they are responsible for identifying and marking all business confidential and proprietary information in their submission.

(5) Individuals and Individual Team Leads selected as cash prize recipients must submit all required taxpayer identification and bank account information required to complete an electronic payment of the cash prize. Failure to provide the government required documents for electronic payment within seven (7) days of notification by Luminary Labs will result in a disqualification of the winning entry.

(6) Submissions must include a brief (approximately 145-word) nonproprietary description of the proposed solution, as well as contact information, to be shared with other solvers for the purposes of teaming. See the submission form for more details.

(7) Entrants in this Challenge agree, as a condition for winning a cash prize, to complete and submit all required winner verification documents to Luminary Labs within three (3) days of notification. Failure to return all required verification documents by the date specified in the notification may be a basis for disqualification of the winning entry.

(8) Entries must agree and consent, as a condition for receiving a cash prize, to the use of their name, entity, city and state/province, likeness or image, comments, and a short synopsis of their winning solution as a part of the Department of Homeland Security’s promotion of this prize competition.

(9) Entrants must own or have access at their own expense to a computer, an internet connection, and any other electronic devices, documentation, software, or other items that entrants may deem necessary to create and enter a submission.

(10) U.S. government employees participating as individuals, or who submit applications on behalf of an otherwise eligible organization, will be responsible for ensuring that their participation in the Competition is permitted by the rules and regulations relevant to their position and that they have obtained any authorization that may be required by virtue of their government position.  Failure to do so may result in the disqualification of them individually or of the entity which they represent or in which they are involved. Federal contractors are advised to consult with the appropriate authorities in their organization to avoid contractual conflicts.

(11) The following entrants (including any individuals participating as part of a team or entity) are not eligible to win a monetary prize regardless of whether they meet the criteria set forth above:

  • Any federal entity or federal employee acting within the scope of his or her employment or otherwise prohibited by federal law (employees should consult their agency ethics officials). Note: federal ethical conduct rules may restrict or prohibit federal employees from engaging in certain outside activities; any federal employee not excluded under the prior paragraph seeking to participate in this Challenge outside the scope of employment should consult his/her agency’s ethics official prior to developing a submission;
  • Any individual or entity that used government federal facilities or relied upon significant consultation with government federal employees to develop a submission, unless the facilities and employees were made available to all entrants in this Challenge on an equal basis; and any individual or entity that used federal funds to develop a submission, unless such use is consistent with the grant award, or other applicable federal funds awarding document. If a grantee using federal funds enters and wins this Challenge, the prize monies must be treated as program income for purposes of the original grant in accordance with applicable Office of Management and Budget Circulars. Federal contractors may not use federal funds from a contract to develop a submission for this Challenge.

(12) Per 15 U.S.C. 3719(h), an individual or entity shall not be deemed ineligible under these eligibility rules because the individual or entity used federal facilities or consulted with federal employees during a competition if the facilities and employees are made available to all individuals and entities participating in the Challenge on an equitable basis.

(13) Use of Marks: Except as expressly set forth in the Challenge Rules, Terms and Conditions, entrants shall not use the names, trademarks, service marks, logos, insignias, trade dress, or any other designation of source or origin subject to legal protection, copyrighted material or similar intellectual property (“Marks”) of the organizers or other Challenge partners, sponsors, or collaborators in any way without such party’s prior written permission in each instance, which such party may grant or withhold at its sole and absolute discretion.

(14) An individual or entity that is determined to be on the GSA Excluded Parties List (www.sam.gov) is ineligible to receive a cash prize and will not be selected as a Challenge winner. To search the list, click here, then click on the icon in the lower right, labeled “Search Records” and follow the instructions on the search page.

(15) All entry information submitted on the Challenge website and all materials, including any copy of the submission, becomes property of the government and will not be acknowledged or returned by Luminary Labs or the government. However, entrants retain ownership of their plans, including any software, research, or other intellectual property (IP) that they develop in connection therewith, subject to the license granted to the government to use submissions as set forth in the Intellectual Property of Submissions section below. Proof of submission is not considered proof of delivery to or receipt of such entry. Furthermore, the government and Luminary Labs shall have no liability for any submission that is lost, intercepted, or not received by the government and/or Luminary Labs. The government and Luminary Labs assume no liability or responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, theft, destruction, or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, submissions.

(16) Entrants are not required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility in order to participate in the Challenge.

Entrants must comply with and abide by these Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and the decisions of the government which shall be final and binding in all respects.

Judging Criteria

Accuracy

The degree to which the solution would be able to detect, recognize, or indicate the presence of opioids in a parcel consistently and with a high degree of confidence. This includes the degree to which the solution addresses and minimizes both false positives and false negatives.


Speed
Percentage:

The potential for the solution to rapidly inspect parcels, considered in terms of potential inspections per unit of time.


Feasibility
Percentage:

The extent to which the proposed solution uses technically sound methods backed by credible supporting evidence and can be developed into a testable prototype within a four-month period. 


How To Enter

Registration and Participation:

To register and participate in this event, go to the official Challenge website at www.opioiddetectionchallenge.com