Investments & Finance

US Department of Defense Investment Program Opens Opportunities for Food Tech Innovation

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) has unveiled the Distributed Bioindustrial Manufacturing Investment Program (DBMIP), offering a new funding avenue for food technology companies, including those in the alternative protein sector. This initiative is part of the country’s effort to support the advancement of biotechnology and bolster the nation’s defense capabilities.

“These major investments will help […] biotechnology to advance national and economic security”

The DBMIP is set to distribute Defense Production Act funding to fortify domestic supply chains, specifically targeting the biomanufacturing industry. Under the program, the DoD is calling for proposals from businesses capable of developing bioindustrial manufacturing facilities. These proposals are required to outline both business and technical plans, with a submission deadline set for March 6, 2024. The department expects to grant awards to approximately 30 proposals in May, with each selected project potentially receiving up to $1.5 million.

Innovations in bio-generated foodstuff ingredients

The investment programs focus on biomanufacturing opens up new possibilities for the production of essential materials, including fuels, chemicals, medical supplies, and food, to directly support the US military and its allies. This initiative is particularly relevant for the food industry, as it seeks innovations in bio-generated foodstuff ingredients that meet military specifications. These innovations could lead to improvements in the supply chain and enhance the quality of ready-to-eat meals for service members, addressing critical needs such as the replacement of imported components and the enhancement of flavors and textures to increase the satisfaction of military members

Navy/ Military Soldiers
©US Department of Defense

Strategic objectives

The program is a component of the strategy outlined by President Biden’s Executive Order 14081, which aims to promote biotechnology and biomanufacturing innovation for a sustainable, safe, and secure American bioeconomy. Investments will be facilitated through the Defense Industrial Base Consortium (DIBC) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA), which enables the DoD to efficiently work with smaller, non-traditional businesses that may have previously faced barriers in accessing partnership opportunities. 

For the food industry, this program offers a unique opportunity for companies to contribute to national security while fostering innovation in food production technologies, encouraging the exploration of precision fermentation, cell-cultured meats, and other advanced biomanufacturing techniques that align with both military needs and sustainability goals.

Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Heidi Shyu, commented, “President Biden called on the Department of Defense to assess how the agency can use biotechnology to make our supply chains more resilient, create jobs at home, and strengthen America’s bioeconomy. These major investments will help answer his charge to harness the full potential and power of biotechnology to advance national and economic security.” 

Those wishing to submit a proposal can do by March 6, 2024, at https://www.dibconsortium.org/

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