The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s newly formed Biological Technologies Office (BTO) has issued its first call for proposals, seeking to back research offering the potential for revolutionary advances in biological technologies.
BTO calls for unconventional approaches that “are outside the mainstream, challenge assumptions, and have the potential to radically change established practice, lead to extraordinary outcomes, and create entirely new fields,” according to the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA).
Highlighted areas of interest include:
- New techniques and technologies to optimally restore and maintain the health and abilities of military service members
- Improving interfaces between humans and the physical and biological world to enable optimal performance in complex environments
- Radical new approaches towards countermeasure development for biological, chemical and/or radiological threats
- New tools for forward engineering of biological systems (cells, tissues, organs, and organisms) to both develop new products and functional systems as well as to gain new insights into underlying mechanisms
- Discovering and leveraging novel insights from neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science to advance treatment and resilience in neurological health and optimize human aptitude and performance
- Advancing the understanding of the underlying design rules that govern biological system behavior
- Leveraging new computational techniques from computer science, big data, and biology to enable investigation and generation of knowledge from biological data at scale
- Developing and validating new theories and computational models that identify factors and explain principles underlying collective and interactive behaviors of biological organisms at all scales from individual cells to the warfighter to global ecosystems
- Understanding where there are inflection points in population and ecosystem behavior in order to preserve equilibrium, provide strategic opportunity, or avoid catastrophe
- Developing and leveraging new insights into non-human biology across and between populations of microbes, plants, marine life, and other non-human biologic entities
- Understanding how social, environmental, and biological factors converge to generate violence and conflict or lead to deterrence
Multiple awards are anticipated. Proposal requirements and submission details are available under Solicitation Number: DARPA-BAA-14-38. The BAA remains open until April 30, 2015.