DARPA Arcadia - Developing Functional Biofilms

Sponsor Deadline: 

Dec 15, 2021

Letter of Intent Deadline: 

Oct 25, 2021


DOD Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Biological Technologies Office

UI Contact: 

DARPA Arcadia
Grants.gov   https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=335653
Sam.gov   https://sam.gov/opp/636ef1cc998e4b1299f7cd19b8e4c6db/view
Proposal Abstract (strongly encouraged) Due Date: October 25, 2021
Full Proposal Due Date: December 15, 2021

The Biological Technologies Office (BTO) is soliciting innovative proposals to develop beneficial, functional biofilms capable of reducing drag, decreasing corrosion, or inhibiting black mold growth on military material. Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in microbial ecology, systems modeling, or community building. Similar to the Arcadian vision of harmony with nature, the Arcadia program will develop “probiotics” for military material 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.

A new understanding of how biofilms form and survive, combined with advances in bacterial control, will foster microbial community manipulation toward a desired function. This will require advances in modeling biofilm and developing testbeds to replicate in-the-field conditions. Multiple testbeds must run in parallel to grow, track, and test biofilms, capturing variables associated with growth and resilience to perturbation, and enabling further model parameterization. Biofilm manipulation strategies must be rigorously tested not only in the laboratory, but also in the field to foster model refinement and to ensure that models predict real-world biofilms.