DARPA Biological Control BAA

DARPA Biological Technologies Office (BTO) has released the Biological Control BAA, DARPA-BAA-16-17.  The objective of the Biological Control program is to “build new capabilities for the control of biological systems across scales—from nanometers to centimeters, seconds to weeks, and biomolecules to populations of organisms—using embedded controllers made of biological parts to program system-level behavior.”

The program will “demonstrate tools to rationally design and implement multiscale, closed-loop control of biological systems, through the development of biological controllers, testbeds to evaluate control of system-level behavior, and theory and models to predict and design effective control strategies. The resulting capabilities will be inherently generalizable to a variety of biological systems. Successful teams will integrate and apply these capabilities to demonstrate a practical proof-of-principle biological solution to a proposer-defined application relevant to the DoD.”

The program will be divided into three phases:

  1. Phase 1 (18 months), teams will develop an initial biological controller, testbed, and predictive models for the controller and its effects on the initial target system-level behavior.
  2. Phase 2 (18 months), teams will develop additional controllers with more stringent performance criteria, target additional system-level behaviors, and demonstrate multiple controllers simultaneously.
  3. Phase 3 (12 months), teams will build a proof-of-concept biological solution to a proposer-defined application of relevance to DoD, such as combating biofouling and/or biocorrosion, fighting antibiotic resistance, improving biomanufacturing platforms, or enabling environmental bioremediation.

Proposal abstracts are due March 18, 2016 and full proposals are due April 29, 2016. The Program Manager is Elizabeth Strychalski.

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