Scroll down for more information
Bacteria are the most abundant and diverse lifeform on Earth, with the majority spending their lives in biofilms. This lifestyle is universally perceived as problematic since biofilms contribute significantly to equipment degradation, including DoD assets. However, biofilms do not have to be a problem. New insights suggest biofilms could be rendered beneficial by redirecting their composition and structure. Similar to the Arcadian vision of harmony with nature, the Arcadia program will develop “probiotics for materials” using microorganisms that naturally occur on DoD assets to build protective communities. These probiotics will generate robust and beneficial coatings that prevent corrosion, decrease drag, or inhibit the growth of black mold on DoD assets.
Biofouling is a significant and ongoing challenge for the DoD. Biofilms form extensively on stored materiel, on aircraft and ship hulls, and in hard to reach places. Indeed, “microorganisms can eat away at surface materials, and some of the worst areas affected are tight, hard-to-reach areas that maintainers have difficulty disinfecting.” In many cases there is no simple remedy; the fouled surface or area cannot be easily accessed, as is the case for either the inside of fuel tanks or a deployed unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). Current DoD remedies (scrubbing, dry docking, fuel-tank draining for repair) have significant, long-term limitations; they must be continually applied at great expense, yielding diminishing returns. Materiel fouling and degradation could be remedied by harnessing the naturally occurring microbiota as “materiel probiotics” and providing protection from deleterious species. The Arcadia program will focus on uses specific to the DoD Concept of Operations (CONOPS): corrosion in fuel tanks, corrosion in or on UUVs, drag on UUVs, and black mold growth on DoD assets such as stored vehicles.
In order to deliver the capabilities required by the Arcadia program, successful teams will include experts in fields such as microbiology, microbial ecology and community building, systems modeling and machine learning, surface science, materials science, corrosion, hydrodynamics, microfluidics and testbed development. Each application track will address the same Technical Areas (TAs): Modeling & Analysis of Community Interactions (TA1) and Engineering a Functional and Resilient Biofilm (TA2). The technology will be developed over two Phases. During Phase I (24 months), performer teams will directly engage with Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) partners, coordinated by DARPA, who will provide DoD-relevant biofilm samples. Performer teams will then develop high-throughput testbeds to characterize these samples and thereby parameterize their models. Data gleaned at the bench will directly inform network community analyses and models to further develop track-associated function that is resilient to disturbance(s) with function that is resilient to disturbance(s) for two weeks in the testbed. During Phase II (24 months), performer teams will continue direct engagement with IV&V partners for community testing in the real-world. Communities must be stable and exhibit track-associated function after two months in the field.
There is no registration fee for the Proposers Day webcast. The registration deadline is Tuesday, September 21 at 12:00 PM or when capacity is reached, whichever comes first. There will be no same-day registration. Advance registration is required in order to receive access to the webcast and is mandatory for every individual intending to view the webcast either alone or as part of a group. Registrants in excess of the maximum capacity limitation (1000 individuals) may be added to a waitlist. Individuals who are unable to register because the deadline has occurred may request to be added to the waitlist. If slots become available due to cancellations, the slots may be filled on a first come, first served basis from the waitlist.
Proposers Days are only open to registered potential proposers, i.e., the events are closed to the general public and media. For this particular program, Proposers Day registration is open to potential proposers who are U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and foreign nationals.
All registrants for the webinar meeting who are not U.S. Citizens must complete and submit a DARPA Form 60 (U.S. Permanent Resident and Foreign National) Visit Request no later than September 17, 2021 at 12:00 PM ET (note: this date is in advance of the meeting registration deadline)
This meeting will be held on the ZoomGov webinar platform. Content on this platform is restricted to Public Releasable Information only.
Downloading the Zoom application is suggested but understood that there are affiliation restrictions. Therefore the alternative would be to join by web browser.