Special Notice (SN) DARPA-SN-21-40
September 24, 2021
The Biological Technologies Office (BTO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is hosting a Proposers Day for the potential proposer community in support of a planned Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Arcadia Program. The Proposers Day will be held on September 24, 2021 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM virtually. Advance registration is required. Note: all times listed in this announcement and on the registration website are Eastern Time.
The Proposers Day goals include:
The Proposers Day will include brief overview presentations by government personnel as well as an information session to respond to questions from participants. Potential performers can highlight their technical capabilities through “lightning” talks such that teaming relationships can be developed. It is expected that Arcadia will require strong teaming efforts to successfully innovate and integrate critical technologies necessary to meet the metrics of the program. Private sidebar meetings to be held virtually with the DARPA team and potential proposer teams can be scheduled beforehand on the registration website. Sidebar meetings will not provide feedback on ideas but rather will cover whether a particular approach or concept is within scope.
Attendance at this event is not a requirement for submission of a proposal or selection for funding. Information relayed during the Proposers Day will be made available on the BTO section of the DARPA Opportunities page: http://www.darpa.mil/work-with-us/opportunities.
To maximize the pool of innovative proposal concepts, DARPA strongly encourages participation by non-traditional performers (e.g., small businesses, academic and research institutions, and first-time Government contractors).
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.
This Special Notice and Proposer’s Day include two specific opportunities for prospective proposers to identify team members:
Registration opens: As of publication of this announcement.
Registration closes: September 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM or when capacity is reached, whichever comes first.
Registration is limited by the webinar platform, and early registration is strongly recommended. The registration cutoff date is September 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM, or once attendance capacity is met, whichever comes first. There will be no same-day registration.
Participants must register in advance through the registration website. Early registration is strongly recommended. Due to space limitations, attendance for the Proposers Day will be limited to the first 1000 registrants. Interested parties are encouraged to coordinate attendance internally within their organizations prior to registration. In the unlikely occurrence that the registration limit is reached, the number of representatives per organization may be limited. Individuals that are unable to register because the deadline has occurred or capacity has been reached will be added to a waitlist. If slots remain open after registration closes or become available due to cancellations, the slots will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis from the waitlist. An online registration form and various other meeting details can be found at the registration website: https://events.sa-meetings.com/ArcadiaProposersDay (this website).
Potential proposing teams are not required to attend Proposers Day, although participation is strongly encouraged.
DARPA hosts Proposers Days to promote teaming arrangements between researchers; provide potential performers with information on whether and how they might respond to the Government’s research and development solicitations; and to increase efficiency in proposal preparation and evaluation. Therefore, Proposers Days are open only to registered potential proposers.
All registrants for the meeting who are not U.S. Citizens must complete and submit one of the following:
All U.S. Permanent Residents and Foreign Nationals must submit a DARPA Form 60, except foreign government personnel who must submit only an Official Visit Request completed by their respective Embassy based in Washington, DC.
All forms must be submitted no later than 12:00 PM on September 17, 2021. (Note: this date is in advance of the meeting registration deadline). Form 60 submission instructions are provided on the registration website and in the registration confirmation email. Contact your Embassy staff for assistance in submitting the Official Visit Request.
All administrative and technical questions should be directed to Arcadia@darpa.mil. Please refer to the Arcadia Special Notice number (DARPA-SN-21-40) in all correspondence. This announcement is not a request for proposals; any sent to the Special Notice email address will be disregarded.
This SN is issued solely for information and potential new program planning purposes; the SN does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals or proposal abstracts. In accordance with FAR 15.201(e), responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Submission is voluntary and is not required to propose to subsequent Broad Agency Announcements (if any) or research solicitations (if any) on this topic. DARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this SN. Respondents are advised that DARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this SN.
NO CLASSIFIED INFORMATION SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE SN RESPONSE.