Category Archives: Request for Information

Requests for information from sponsors for information related to future opportunities

NASA Intelligent Systems Research and Development Support

NASA Ames Research Center (NASA/ARC) has released the Intelligent Systems Research and Development Support RFI, NARC17ISRDS-RFI.  A draft statement of work is included.

The NASA/ARC Intelligent Systems Division (Code TI or the Division) “is part of the Exploration Technology Directorate (Code T) at the NASA Ames Research Center. Code TI conducts scientific research, develops technologies, builds applications, and infuses and deploys advanced information systems technology into NASA missions and other federal government projects. This procurement is for research, development and infusion support services to assist that effort.

The Division is a major contributor to enabling intelligent software technology research and development for NASA in all the Agency Mission Directorates. Programs currently supported by the Division include Airspace Operations and Safety, Advanced Air Vehicles, and Transformative Aeronautics Concepts, and may in the future include Integrated Aviation Systems for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD); Airborne, Space and Earth Science data pipelines and analyses, and mission operations for the Science Mission Directorate (SMD); evolving advanced space technology development and demonstration programs in the Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT); Advanced Exploration Systems, Human/Robotic systems and other capability-driven programs being developed in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD); the Center’s Small Satellite Research projects, in addition to a variety of NASA inter-center work agreements such as one to provide specialized software systems for Johnson Space Center’s Mission Operations Directorate (MOD).

The Contractor shall provide research support in the following domains: artificial intelligence (AI), knowledge-based systems, knowledge discovery and data mining, information processing and sensors, prognostic signal analysis, model-based diagnostic reasoning, system fault diagnostics, prognostics, automated software methodologies, software verification, validation and safety assurance, fault-tolerant computing hardware and networking, tele-presence and tele-control of remote, mobile platforms, autonomous and adaptive control, unmanned aero and terrestrial based vehicle technologies, human-centered computing, collaborative system design, quantum computing, and distribution of research information in various formats and forums.”

Responses need to be received no later than July 6, 2017 at 4:00 PM PST.


DARPA Molecular Code and Compute RFI

DARPA DSO has released the Molecular Code and Compute Request for Information, DARPA-SN-17-13, on research related to molecular-scale information storage and computation.

DARPA is interested in exploring ideas and research that directly couples information storage and computation using non-natural, sequence-controlled polymers in a generalizable, adaptable format that may lead to fundamentally new computational architectures in the future. To realize this longer-term goal, we must first carefully lay the groundwork and develop strategies for flexible, adaptable molecular-scale information storage (code) framed in the context of our anticipated/desired computing needs (compute).

DARPA is interested in responses in two areas:

  1. strategies for the rapid synthesis and sequencing (read/write) of polymers for ultradense information storage that can carry out computational operations, and
  2. theoretical foundations and/or computing applications that may benefit from the flexibility and highly parallel nature of such chemical systems (e.g., data-intensive

Four page responses are due by January 4, 2017.

Army Systems Adaptive Red Team /Technical Support and Operational Analysis (ART/TSOA) RFI

The Army has released the Systems Adaptive Red Team /Technical Support and Operational Analysis (ART/TSOA)  RFI.This RFI “invites industry, academia, individuals, and laboratories to submit technology demonstration papers addressing innovative technologies and capabilities that can be used in challenging environments:

  • Physical (Terrain -Natural & Urban)
  • Electronic (Frequency Congestion & Overload)
  • Contested (Electronic Interference, Cyber Attacks, & CBRNE)”

After reviewing the technology demonstration paper submissions, the Government may invite select candidates to participate in an ART/TSOA assessment venue in which the Government evaluates the capabilities as applied to the Warfighter, its technical limitations and vulnerabilities through an enemy perspective. These assessments will be held quarterly at various venues.

The RFI is effective through 31 December 2017, though specific event cut-off dates are listed due to the events for which the submissions are need.

DARPA In Vivo Nucleic Acid Sequencing and Synthesis RFI

DARPA BTO has released the Vivo Nucleic Acid Sequencing and Synthesis RFI, DARPA-SN-17-04.  This RFI seeks “innovative ideas to support advances in synthetic biology and engineering biology broadly, through in vivo nucleic acid sequencing and/or synthesis. Real-time reading and writing of nucleic acid in living cells would enable continuous monitoring of gene expression and dynamic reprogramming of cell function, offering the potential to expand applications of engineered living systems to address real-world challenges.”

To identify paths forward to aggressively advance the state of the art, DARPA is seeking responses which identify high-impact, real-world applications that are prohibitively difficult or impossible with state of the art in vitro technologies to best demonstrate the potential for in vivo nucleic acid sequencing and/or synthesis. Responses should explicitly address how the application would benefit from an in vivo approach.

Include in your response one or more of the followings topics related to potential approaches:

  1. Technologies to assemble mechanisms for in vivo nucleic acid sequencing and/or programmed, de novo synthesis, with emphasis on operation in individual cells, rather than collectively across cell populations.
  2. Means for generating, detecting, and multiplexing signals to/from multiple cells to obtain nucleic acid sequence information and/or direct nucleic acid synthesis.
  3. Methods to deliver mechanisms for nucleic acid sequencing and/or synthesis to a desired location inside the cell and, if assembled outside the cell, across the cell membrane. Discuss approaches to minimize unintended and adverse effects on cell function.
  4. Techniques to maximize the generalizability of mechanisms for in vivo nucleic acid sequencing and/or synthesis across various cell types.
  5. Strategies to improve control of mechanisms to import and/or export nucleic acid to/from locations in the cell for sequencing and/or synthesis.
  6. Quantitative tools and methods for the effective characterization of in vivo sequencing and/or synthesis in real-time.
  7. Approaches to meet suitable read rates and lengths for in vivo nucleic acid sequencing and/or assembly rates and lengths for in vivo nucleic acid synthesis, as well as other relevant performance metrics. Discuss theoretical limits and anticipated needs for practical applications.
  8. Technologies to direct in real-time interactions between the mechanisms for in vivo nucleic acid sequencing and/or synthesis and the intra- or intercellular environment, for dynamic control.
  9. Suggestions for yet-to-be-discovered strategies and applications of in vivo nucleic acid sequencing and/or synthesis that may have no clear analogy to natural biological processes or function.

Five (5) page responses are due December 2, 2016.  The program manager is Elizabeth Strychalski.

DARPA Synthetic Organelles: Assembly and Applications RFI

DARPA BTO has released the Synthetic Organelles: Assembly and Applications RFI, DARPA-SN-17-05.  This RFI is requesting responses for “novel technologies that enable controlled, functional compartmentalization in cells and/or cell-free systems, to complement efforts at BTO in synthetic biology and engineering biology broadly.”

“Current research efforts to build and apply engineered compartmentalization generally focus on the characterization or minimal modification of existing organelles or compartments. Demonstrated applications of engineered compartmentalization by targeting enzymes to existing organelles, such as peroxisomes and mitochondria, typically aim to increase the yield of simple biochemical reactions for metabolic engineering. This RFI seeks to identify the remaining challenges and potential solutions to advance beyond these limited capabilities and applications at the state of the art.”

Topics of interest, but are not limited to:

  1. Technologies to assemble structures for compartmentalization in vivo and/or in vitro, with emphasis on programmed, de novo self-assembly.
  2. Methods to deliver structures for compartmentalization to a desired location inside the cell and, if assembled outside the cell, across the cell membrane.
  3. Strategies for ensuring the maintenance and/or reproduction of structures for compartmentalization, for example, to avoid rejection by the cell and/or dilution during cell doubling.
  4. Techniques to maximize the generalizability of structures for compartmentalization and function across various cell types and/or cell-free systems.
  5. Strategies to improve control of mechanisms to import and/or export biomolecules to/from structures for compartmentalization in cells and/or cell-free systems.
  6. Quantitative tools and methods for the effective characterization of the structure and function of compartmentalization strategies in real-time.
  7. Technologies to direct in real-time interactions between the structure for compartmentalization and the intra- or intercellular environment, for dynamic control of function.
  8. Identification of high-impact, real-world applications that are prohibitively difficult or impossible at the state of the art to best demonstrate the potential for engineered compartmentalization to advance synthetic biology and engineering biology broadly.
  9. Suggestions for novel compartmentalization strategies and applications that may have no clear analogy to natural biological compartmentalization or function

Five (5) page responses are dueDecember 2, 2016.  The program manager is Dr. Elizabeth Strychalski.

AFRL Air Vehicle Energy Management RFI

AFRL has released an RFI on Air Vehicle Management, RFI-AFRL-RQKPD-2017-0001.

Air Vehicle Energy Management (AVEM) concepts “comprise technologies enabling control strategies to dynamically allocate energy resources in the electrical, thermal and mechanical domains over the mission and across aircraft subsystems.

Next generation aircraft have challenging electrical and thermal system requirements including: increased demands, decreased footprint availability (i.e. weight, volume and external sinks) and capped life cycle costs. The current dominant design paradigm attempts to isolates subsystems to mitigate unintended interactions and the complexity of system integration. However, this siloed design paradigm has generally reached a point of diminishing returns for expanding system capabilities solely through advances in individual components technologies. Control strategies for AVEM are expected to tap into latent system capability by facilitating more effective use of energy resources within and among subsystems. This would enable the integration of additional (possibly high power) payloads onto the aircraft.

The specific power and thermal subsystems of interest include: actuation, air cycle machines, engines, energy storage devices (e.g., passive, active, electrical, or thermal), electric distribution devices, fuel thermal management systems, generator and inverter converter controllers (ICC), and vapor cycle systems.

Broadly speaking, there is an interest in advancing AVEM technologies aligned with four guiding principles: Capability, Agility, Reliability and Affordability. In the following, the overall goals in developing an AVEM system are broken down along these guiding principles.”

Respondents to the RFI should answer the questions listed.  Responses are limited to 30 double-spaced pages and are due by December 12, 2016.


IARPA has released a RFI titled “DNAtoFace”, IARPA-RFI-17-01.

Advancements in genetic phenotyping suggests the possibility of predicting a human’s facial structure or other attributes from DNA sequences. IARPA is interested in knowing whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) yield sufficient information for making such prediction or if the whole genome sequence is required.

Responses to this RFI should answer any or all of the following questions:

  1. What is the maturity and level of accuracy of genetic phenotyping outside of gender and genetic ancestry? Is additional information required to phenotype specific characteristics (e.g., height, eye color, skin tone, face structure, etc.)?
  2. Who are the major government, industry, and academic leaders in the field of genetic phenotyping?
  3. Compare and contrast the leading approaches and techniques for genetic phenotyping. Are any commercial capabilities available?
  4. What level of confidence are geneticists, scientists, or researchers able to predict major phenotype information (e.g., height, eye color, skin tone, face structure, etc.) from a whole DNA sequence? Is additional information outside the whole DNA sequence required?
  5. What is the impact of utilizing SNP as opposed to whole genome sequencing for predicting genotype to phenotype? Specifically, can facial structure prediction (phenotyping) be achieved with using just SNP? Will (and how will) this limit the accuracy of the predictions? Does the number of SNP collected (e.g., 500,000, 1,000,000, or 5,000,000) impact ability to predict a phenotype from genotype? Which specific SNP should be captured for a face structure phenotype prediction?
  6. How many subjects are needed to train a model to predict facial structure and appearance from both SNP and whole genome sequences? Is the required sample size different for SNP versus whole genome sequencing? Does ethnicity, age, or gender impact the required number of subjects?
  7. What large-scale SNP or whole genome sequence databases are available in government, academia, and industry? Do they contain corresponding face images? What are the terms of use for such databases?
  8. How will epigenetic factors play into any resulting analysis of attributes? What types of epigenetic tests and methodology should be considered?
  9. What types of statistical analysis have been done utilizing methods such as power analysis to determine how many subjects are needed to analyze non-disease based phenotypes? Please identify any research (peer reviewed or otherwise) that addresses the sampling needs from a theoretical or quantitative perspective.
  10. What other issues do you feel are important to being able to predict non-disease phenotypes from genetic information?

Responses to the RFI are due December 16, 2016.

NASA Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2) Co-manifested Payload (CPL) RFI

NASA has announced a RFI titled “Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2) Co-manifested Payload (CPL),”  NNH17ZCM001L.  Responses to this RFI are to assist NASA in planning for potential co-manifested payloads (CPL) for Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2) with a planned launch on a circumlunar mission in 2021.

“EM-2 will be the first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) Block 1B, the first crewed mission for Orion, and an important early demonstration of critical exploration capabilities in the Proving Ground of cislunar space. The primary mission objective is to demonstrate SLS Block 1B and Orion crew capabilities. EM-2 is currently scheduled for launch on a circumlunar mission in August 2021. This RFI is intended to collect information for use by NASA to determine the feasibility of, and potential options for, CPL on EM-2 without impacting EM-2 primary mission objectives or schedule. ”

Some general areas of scientific and technological interest include but are not limited to:

  • Acquire data that can be used to help retire NASA’s Strategic Knowledge Gaps
  • Acquire data relevant to NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s (SMD) Decadal surveys
  • Demonstrating and/or deploying cislunar infrastructure (such as space-to-Earth communications) to support future exploration missions.
  • Lunar lander or lunar resource technology demonstration(s).
  • Deep space environment investigations and/or monitoring.
  • In-space propulsion technology demonstration(s).

NASA will hold an informational teleconference for this RFI on October 14, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. EDT. Prospective respondents should call (844) 467-4685, passcode 115646 to connect to the teleconference.  Responses to the RFI should not exceed 10 pages and are due November 7, 2016 by 4:00 pm EDT.


DARPA DSO has released a request for information (RFI) titled RadioBio, DARPA-SN-17-01.

The RadioBio RFI is requesting information on the “state-of-the-art in experimentally observing, modeling and understanding communication between biosystems exploiting electromagnetic (EM) waves from low frequencies (kHz) to high frequencies (THz). As used in this RFI, “biosystems” is all inclusive—from bacteria to primates—and can involve EM exchanges between similar or dissimilar systems. This interest, therefore, includes EM wave exchanges associated with DNA, intra- and inter-cell transmissions as well as their role in large arrays (films or volumes) of cells. Mechanisms for emission, modulation and detection—whether described by classical or quantum processes—are relevant.

Information related to the following questions is of value:

  1. What are the roles of EM waves in biosystems?
  2. What information is carried by EM waves between cells?
  3. How do weak fields influence cells?”

Seven (7) page responses are due by November 4, 2016. Dr. Michael Fiddy is the program manager.

AFRL Design, Manufacturing, Assembly and Testing for Future Low Cost UAS RFI

AFRL has released the Design, Manufacturing, Assembly and Testing for Future Low Cost UAS RFI, RFI-AFRL-RQKM-2017-0003.

“Future anticipated military threats and tighter defense budgets combine to drive the need for new and innovative solutions towards the development of future low cost unmanned aerospace systems (UAS). As aircraft cost has continued to escalate, the Air Force is interested in UAS concepts that offer dramatic reductions in cost in order to bring “mass” to the engagement, and to achieve a cost imposing effect on future adversaries. UAS performance, design life/reliability, and maintainability drive the cost of today’s systems, and need to be traded to achieve the optimum capability/cost effects. This effort is directed at the development of an attritable aircraft concept where by virtue of its cost, loss of aircraft could be tolerated. However these aircraft would be intended for reuse with limited life/sorties. Considering the tempo of the engagement and phase of war, the level of attritability that would be tolerated could change with operations as they advance with time. This low cost attritable aircraft technology (LCAAT) concept will provide long range, transonic, strike capability in remote/ contested regions where forward basing is difficult or prohibited.”

Two top level Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology (LCAAT) program goals are:

  • Average unit flyaway cost for the aircraft to include basic avionics and propulsion system should be less than $3M
  • Unit production cost is independent of order quantity and production rate/span

Up to fifteen (15) page responses are due November 15, 2016.