Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)

Automation support to CBR modelling tasks for intelligence purposes

Incomplete applications

5
Incomplete applications
3 SME, 2 large

Completed applications

16
Completed applications
9 SME, 7 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Tuesday 30 July 2019
Deadline for asking questions Tuesday 6 August 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Tuesday 13 August 2019 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Overview
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work Create semi-automated workflows to enable a tasking instruction to trigger: data collection from databases input data into existing modelling tools; transfer of data between modelling tools; production of outputs in standard formats; review and approval. Create a Knowledge Base to allow storage of previous tasks, inputs and outputs.
Latest start date Friday 30 August 2019
Expected contract length Duration of work anticipated to be 6 months.
Location No specific location, eg they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
Budget range TBC

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done This is a concept demonstrator to show how automation and a Knowledge Base can reduce response times to requests for (human) analysis using models, enhance product assurance, and enable teams to learn from previous experience. This will inform MOD acquisition plans.
Problem to be solved Create semi-automated workflow(s) to enable a tasking instruction (contained in an email attachment) to trigger: data collection from databases; input of data into existing modelling tools; transfer of data between modelling tools; production of outputs in standard formats; review and approval. Create a Knowledge Base to allow storage of previous tasks, inputs and outputs.
Who the users are and what they need to do The user requires an automated way of taking information from other electronic sources, use this as input for a set of computational models and produce a set of defined outputs. The user needs this to be done using an existing Open Architecture that will be provided.
Early market engagement Not applicable.
Any work that’s already been done Previous research has established an Open Architecture for intelligence analysis and provided an implementation of it. Bidders may use existing components, or provide equivalents, in conformance with the Open Architecture – this will only be issued to short-listed bidders. Existing components include: Activiti workflow system; a Knowledge Base with a graphQL API; minio object-store; Elasticsearch; Open-Source federated search and query; a service which retrieves the data needed to build "products" from the Knowledge Base (needs addition of a bespoke web-application to render the data into the required product format); web-applications for manual data entry and querying of the Knowledge Base.
Existing team The supplier team will work with User representatives (comprising Dstl, its Military Advisors and selected stakeholders) to ensure that the capabilities developed by the supplier are relevant to the military need. These User representatives shall also be invited to take part in a user-evaluation of the solution. No other contractors will be involved. Dstl will appoint a "Technical Partner" who will provide liaison with User representatives, provide technical advice to the supplier and to the Dstl Project Manager regarding technical choices proposed by the supplier, and technically review outputs for acceptance purposes.
Current phase Not started

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place Development anywhere in UK. Demonstration at the DSTL sites at Porton Down.
Working arrangements Access to a set of virtual machines with the output of the previous phase will be provided as GFI/GFE. The contractor is expected to work with these to produce the outputs for this task.

The contractor will be expected to provide a brief weekly update on progress and we will conduct progress meetings on a two-weekly basis although the timescales of these are open to negotiation.
Security clearance Contractor staff will interact with a Dstl modelling team at Porton Down to refine requirements, determine technical interface details and develop solutions. A Security Aspects Letter will be provided post contract award and must be complied with.
Essential that all staff involved are SC cleared. DV clearance is not required.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions Delivery and demonstration shall be on Dstl's private cloud. Dstl requires the capability and Intellectual Property Rights to continue development of the prototype for Defence research purposes without the original supplier, including by third parties under contract to Dstl. The tooling necessary to do this development shall be detailed in the proposal, but not included in the price or deliverables. Deliverables must be sufficient to enable the Authority to conduct development using said tooling.

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Have demonstrable experience of successful software development using pragmatic agile methodologies and practices.
  • Experience of successful development of software that interfaces with software from multiple sources, including: open-source, government-source, and commercial products.
  • Have demonstrable experience, at expert level, of workflow development using one or more Open Source workflow systems (e.g. Activiti).
  • Have demonstrable experience, at expert level, of developing solutions using SQL and NoSQL databases.
  • Have demonstrable experience, at expert level, of web-application development.
  • Have demonstrable experience, at expert level, of working with JSON using languages that natively support the manipulation of JSON objects
  • Experience of successfully working on Research and Development activities.
  • Experience of using Linux Virtual Machines
  • Experience of helping to define and refine requirements
  • Experience of software development on classified projects, including handling of data up to Secret
Nice-to-have skills and experience

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 5
Proposal criteria xx
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work as a team with our organisation and other suppliers
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Used to providing "government-source" software, with sufficient documentation such that others can enhance/maintain it.
  • Have a fail-fast and no-blame culture that encourages people to learn from their mistakes.
  • Used to providing "government-source" software, with sufficient documentation such that others can enhance/maintain it.
  • Used to working with classified data.
Payment approach Fixed price
Assessment methods Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

50%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

30%

Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Will you support the SC clearance? Dstl advise the SC requirement was for the contractor to be able to deliver the system onto SNet and we can find a way around this so that SC isn’t required.
2. Please can you confirm what the budget range is for this opportunity? Dstl have a total budget of £300k , this excludes VAT.
3. Question :
Is this task considered to be the Alpha Phase?
Answer

This task will build upon a previous framework developed for a different purpose. The CBR components that will being used have also been previously developed. There has currently been no work integrating the two, which is the purpose of this task.
4. Question :
If the supplier has a list X facility will the data be shared so that it can be used for development and testing off site?
Answer :

Yes, we should be able to provide a suitable set of data that could be shared at either SECRET or OFFICIAL.
5. Question
Have any companies been previously been engaged to provide development support on this task?
Answer :
Not specifically on this task. A previous company (RiskAware) have been involved in the development of some of the CBR components and the original framework that this will be integrating into was also developed by other companies.
6. Question :
Are there any other ongoing tasks that will have dependencies on the progress of this task?
Dstl Answer :

No
7. Question :
Could you please give more information, example about ‘government-source’.
Dstl Answer :

Please be more specific regarding this question .. thank you.