in , , ,

Fundamental Research to Counter Biological, Chemical, and Nuclear Weapons


The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) seeks to identify, adopt, and adapt emerging, existing and revolutionary sciences that may demonstrate high payoff potential to Counter-WMD (C-WMD) threats, including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives threats.

DTRA’s Fundamental Research to Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction (FRCWMD) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) is an extramural endeavor that combines the fundamental research, educational program, or other effort needs appropriate for basic or applied research funding of DTRA and other DoD interests.

Initially released in 2015, this BAA is open continuously through September 2024. Published Topics may be updated at any time and will include instructions on topic-specific opening and closing dates as well as any specific limitations on award types, dollar values, and eligibility. Submissions to a general Thrust Area may occur at any time this BAA is in effect.

Thrust Area 1—Science of WMD Sensing and Recognition

  • Understanding of materials that demonstrate measurable changes when stimulated by radiation
  • Advance ability to detect radiological/nuclear materials at significant stand-off distances
  • Reduction of the technical nuclear forensics timeline

Thrust Area 2—Network Sciences

  • Resilience of interdependent, multi-layered physical networks after exposure from electromagnetic pulse and other nuclear weapons effects
  • Rapid discovery and analyzing low-observable WMD-related information from large, disparate WMD-related data sets from multiple types of networks
  • Develop theories and representations for low observable WMD-related radical ideation from social networks

Thrust Area 3—Science for Protection

  • Novel methods to protect personnel from the physical, radiological, and nuclear effects of WMDs
  • Study of biological systems, including intact structures, metabolic products, or discrete components and pathways, as applied to protection of U.S. Forces during operations in areas actually or potentially contaminated by radiation
  • Development of radiation countermeasures to prevent biological damage associated with exposure to ionizing radiation
  • Development of novel biologically-based or -produced detection systems for wide area surveillance to determine the nature, extent, and distribution of contamination
  • New methods to experimentally and computationally simulate the effects of a nuclear event

Thrust Area 4—Science to Defeat WMD

  • Significantly improving energetic materials for use against WMD facilities

Thrust Area 5—Science to Secure WMDs

  • New methods to monitor compliance to support future agreements or treaties
  • Science principles to assist tagging, tracking, location to secure WMD
  • Novel means to mark and read objects in order to secure inventories
  • Remote or unattended monitoring to understand the nature of objects (e.g., is it nuclear, biological, chemical or conventional?)

Thrust Area 6—Cooperative Counter WMD Research with Global Partners

Research under the auspices of the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), a component of the DoD Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program. The goal is to promote transparency through quality research publications and continual dialogue between scientists/engineers and young researchers. CBEP research projects are not determined by or limited to specific biological agents, but must be plausibly linked to pathogens of security concern and aimed at measurably supporting threat reduction objectives.

  • Support Biosurveillance, Biosafety and Biosecurity (BS&S) Capability Building Efforts
  • Engage Partner Country Scientists in Hypothesis-Driven Research
  • Promote One Health Initiative
  • Foster an International Culture of Responsible and Ethical Conduct in Biological Research

Thrust Area 7—Fundamental Science for Chemical and Biological Defense

  • Development of improved detection devices for traditional and nontraditional chemical agents
  • Development of diagnostics for existing and emerging infectious disease threats
  • Improved capabilities for development of new/improved medical and material countermeasures for both pre- and post-exposure
  • Enhanced personal protection against chemical and biological threats
  • Enhanced modeling of chemical and biological agents
  • Development of decontamination practices and technologies
  • Providing elimination strategies via non-kinetic approaches for threat agent neutralization

Efforts may be proposed for up to five years. Grants may range from small dollar value (e.g., $25K) up to $1M annually depending on the nature and the scope of work.

Area 7 Topic B: Animal Models of Disease in Agents of Interest to the DoD

White papers due: 25 September 2018

This Topic seeks performers and their partners who have the technical background and physical infrastructure to develop animal models for pathogens of interest to the DoD.

Well characterized animal models can support the testing the efficacy of medical countermeasures for which human testing is infeasible or unethical and an important criterion to meet FDA Animal Rule requirements.  An aspect of this work must include the characterization of the disease associated with the aerosolized route of exposure of the pathogen.

Specifically sought are models for the following pathogens:

  • Burkholderia pseudomallei
  • Burkholderia mallei
  • Sudan ebolavirus
  • Marburg marburgvirus
  • Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus
  • Eastern equine encephalitis virus
  • Western equine encephalitis virus
  • Lassa virus
  • Hantaan virus

Award Amounts for this topic are anticipated to be between $350,000 and $1,000,000 per year. Larger value efforts (i.e., $500,000 to $1,000,000 per year) that are university led, include multiple PIs, and provide training opportunities are encouraged.

Additional details and requirements are available via Solicitation Number: HDTRA1-14-24-FRCWMD-BAA.

Edited by S. Lizotte

Navy Researchers Work to Reduce Risk of Melioidosis Among Deployed Military

Naval Research Laboratory Seeks to Advance Field Diagnostics of Infectious Agents