The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is seeking information on research efforts into components and capabilities for ultra-low-power chemical sensing devices: collection systems, separation systems, detection/identification, vacuum systems, and power systems. This Request for Information  is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement contain details of the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.

Background & Scope

Chemical sensing is a priority for the Intelligence Community. Applications include forensic analysis, border/facility protection, and stockpile/production monitoring. In particular, the IC has an interest in the long term monitoring of a chemical environment without human oversight. The technology necessary for local and continuous monitoring of this type must provide high sensitivity and accuracy, be robust in the presence of complex chemical mixtures, and be contained in a small, ruggedized package with autonomous operation. Current technology falls short of meeting all of these requirements. The Molecular Analyzer for Efficient Gas-Phase Low-power INterrogation program seeks to address these issues.

In MAEGLIN Phase 1 (IARPA-BAA-16-01), IARPA funded three separate Thrust Areas to develop the component technologies that will enable an integrated prototype in Phase 2 of the program (IARPABAA- 18-04, expected release in June 2018). Each Thrust Area was structured with specific metrics independent of the others.

  • Collection – Low-power, reversible gas phase collection/storage/release technology.
  • Separation – Low-power, non-destructive separation of chemical mixtures with a broad concentration range, potentially including the ability to “bleed off” all or part of the collected sample if desired. System will use minimal (preferably no) consumables.
  • Identification – Low-power, high-accuracy identification of chemicals as pure compounds or low-count mixtures with a large library. System will use minimal (preferably no) consumables.

MAEGLIN Phase 1 did not include research into vacuum or power systems. These areas will be of significant importance, however, in meeting the Phase 2 metrics.

MAEGLIN Phase 2 will demonstrate integrated prototype systems in two capability tracks: Forensic Identification and Screening Identification.

The Forensic Identification track seeks solutions that will be able to collect target and related chemicals at concentrations potentially several orders of magnitude lower than the ambient chemical background, separate these chemicals from interferents, and perform a full analysis of the complex mixture with positive identification of a broad range of species. An interferent is any chemical with similar physical or spectral properties to the target chemicals and is known to be false alarm triggers. The ability to screen for multiple chemical targets will allow for analysis of subtle changes in the overall chemical effluent from monitored locations – especially when there are several possible target molecules, or when the target molecules themselves have vapor pressures too low to be detected in gas phase effluent, so their presence must be inferred by the presence of a cocktail of precursors, decomposition products, and ancillary production chemicals. Forensic Identification systems will also be able to provide a spectrum or other distinctive signature modality for all detected compounds that would allow automated detection of the presence of a compound not in the system library (true unknown), and allow a trained scientist to evaluate the recorded spectrum or signature modality offline for probable determination of the identity of the unknown compound.

The Screening Identification track seeks solutions that will be able to collect a moderately complex chemical mixture, screen out common background materials and interferents, and provide an automated identification of the presence of a target compound that is in the system’s library of chemical targets. Screening Identification systems must have a high probability of detection for target chemicals, and a low false alarm rate in the presence of common interferents such as hydrocarbons. These systems will not be required to detect the presence of a true unknown, or provide a signature modality that is fundamentally distinctive for all possible chemical targets.

MAEGLIN Phase 2 will be a separate, fully open solicitation distinct from MAEGLIN Phase 1. Participation in MAEGLIN Phase 1 as a prime or subcontractor will not be a requirement for participation in Phase 2. Additionally, component technology approaches of interest in MAEGLIN Phase 2 will not be limited to the approaches funded in MAEGLIN Phase 1. All technology approaches that can meet the overall system metrics are of interest in MAEGLIN Phase 2. Because MAEGLIN Phase 2 is an integration phase culminating in a prototype demonstration, it is expected that the majority of the component technology proposed for Phase 2 will have been developed past the Proof of Concept stage either through funding in MAEGLIN Phase 1, or through similar levels of development via private funding or funding by other government development efforts. However, it is expected that additional development and refinement of component technology will be undertaken as part of the overall Phase 2 system development.

Additional information on MAEGLIN Phase 2 can be found on the IARPA website, where briefing charts from and a video of the MAEGLIN Phase 2 Proposers’ Day are posted: https://www.iarpa.gov/index.php/research-programs/maeglin/maeglin-phase-2.

A draft Broad Agency Announcement for MAEGLIN Phase 2 is also posted at: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=dcabbcf4cedf99e62c0c35485429b1b3.

The goal of this RFI is to gather information about component level technology that has been developed inside and outside of the MAEGLIN Phase 1 efforts and to share that information with those interested in submitting proposals for MAEGLIN Phase 2 to facilitate teaming and overall creativity of system approaches.

Description of Use

The information gathered from this RFI will be used in a data package that will be made available to those who 1.) respond to this RFI or 2.) register on IDEAS for the MAEGLIN Phase 2 BAA. Additionally, RFI information will be shared with IARPA’s MAEGLIN mission partners to help them evaluate the current state of the art in components for compact, ultra-low-power chemical sensing systems. Please do not submit any responses that include proprietary or classified information.

This is similar to a data package summarizing the MAEGLIN Phase 1 system performance and Government testbed used to validate this performance that will also be provided to the same distribution list.

Requested Information

IARPA is interested in current, state-of-the-art capabilities in compact, ultra-low-power chemical sensing technology on a component level. The technology does not need to be commercially available; research level innovation that could be incorporated into an integrated prototype if of particular interest. It is expected that the technology described in responses to this RFI will fall into one or more of the following categories.

  • Collection
  • Separation
  • Detection/Identification
  • Power systems
  • Vacuum systems

All responses to this RFI should address the following points, regardless of category:

  1. Please give a brief overview of your technology.
  2. What is new and innovative in this approach, compared to the current state of the art?
  3. What is the current status of your research?
  4. What is the estimated lifetime of your technology? Is this calculated or experimentally determined?
  5. Please provide any figures/images that you feel represent your research well. This can include schematics, photographs, data, etc. Please provide descriptive captions for the figures.

Responses to the Collection category should address the following points:

  1. What is the size and weight of your technology? How far could this be modified with further research?
  2. What is the current and theoretical power consumption for your technology?
  3. What is the loading efficiency of your material (mass or moles of material and substrate)?
  4. What is the active material? How many grams of material do you currently use? How variable is this?
  5. What is the substrate material? How many grams of material do you currently use? How variable is this?
  6. What is the collected/desorbed amount (ppb/time)?
  7. What biases does your technology have? (i.e. mass, humidity, polarity, etc.)
  8. What volume of gas does your technology require to deliver a chemical bolus to separation/identification system?
  9. How does your technology handle humidity and particulates that may be introduced?
  10. Does your technology have the capability, in addition to gas collection, to collect aerosol, liquid, or solid samples?

Responses to the Separation category should address the following points:

  1. What is the size and weight of your technology? How far could this be modified with further research?
  2. What is the current and theoretical power consumption of your technology?
  3. What is the optimal carrier gas and flow rate for your technology?
  4. How many theoretical plates do you calculate for your technology? Or if theoretical plates are not a valid separation capability metric for your technology, please provide an alternative metric and your capability against it.
  5. What is the Kovats retention index for your technology? What are the retention times for select compounds?
  6. What stationary phase(s) do you currently use? What is the selectivity of your technology? What chemical types are separable?
  7. What is the pressure drop of your technology?
  8. What is the peak resolution of your technology?
  9. What is the thermal stability of your technology?
  10. What biases does your technology have? (i.e. mass, polarity, carryover, etc.)

Responses to the Detection/Identification category should address the following points:

  1. What is the size and weight of your technology? How far could this be modified with further research?
  2. What is the current and theoretical power consumption of your technology?
  3. What mass range or general molecular complexity is your technology capable of detecting?
  4. If you require a carrier gas, what is the preferred one? Are other options a possibility and what adjustments would be required?
  5. Does your technology have identification capability?
  6. What is the Limit of Detection and Limit of Identification?
  7. What are the vacuum requirements (if any) for your technology?
  8. For mass spectrometry approaches – what is your mass resolution? For other approaches, what metric do you use to define chemical complexity, and using that metric what types of chemicals can your approach detect or identify?
  9. Please explain the chemical identification and search algorithms you currently employ. What are the computer requirements and processing time?
  10. What modifications could be made to your technology to reduce power, size, and weight when integrated with other components?

Responses to the Power Systems category should address the following points:

  1. What is the size and weight of your technology? How far could this be modified with further research?
  2. What form factor is your technology? Is this customizable and how so?
  3. What voltage, current, peak and average power is your system capable of? How could these values be improved upon with additional research?
  4. What materials does your technology utilize?
  5. How robust is your power systems technology to platform motion? To temperature variances?

Responses to the Vacuum Systems category should address the following points:

  1. What is the size and weight of your technology? How far could this be modified with further research?
  2. What is the current and theoretical (future, with modification(s) proposed in item (1)) power consumption of your technology?
  3. What vacuum pressure can your technology achieve? How far could this be improved with additional research?
  4. How quickly can your technology pump down to 50% of its ultimate vacuum pressure? To 90%? To 100%?
  5. How robust is your vacuum technology to platform motion? To temperature variances?

If a respondent has a technology approach that could bridge one or more of these listed categories, or eliminate one of the expected subsystems in an overall integrated system, respondents should present these approaches at the subsystem level. Notional examples include a combined collector and separator, or a collector and analyzer combination that does not need a separator. Responses discussing creative subsystem approaches, beyond just the approaches funded in MAEGLIN Phase 1, are encouraged. If any of notional metrics listed in each of the categories above does not apply to your novel approach, please provide alternative/substitute metrics that numerically describe performance capabilities.

While responses to every point are not necessary, they are encouraged. The purpose of this RFI is to promote teaming possibilities between qualified sources towards the goal of an integrated prototype in MAEGLIN Phase 2.

Preparation Instructions to Respondents

IARPA requests that respondents submit responses for use by the Government in formulating a data package to be distributed to those who 1.) respond to this RFI or 2.) register on IDEAS for the MAEGLIN Phase 2 BAA. IARPA requests that submittals briefly and clearly describe the technological concept and current approach, outline critical issues/obstacles, and describe how the approach may address those issues/obstacles with further research. If appropriate, respondents may also choose to provide a nonproprietary rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate regarding what such approaches might require in terms of funding and other resources for one or more years. This announcement contains all of the information required to submit a response. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed.

IARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources from within and outside of the US. Because IARPA is interested in integrated prototype resulting from component technology, responses from teams with complementary areas of expertise are welcome.

Responses have the following formatting requirements:

  • A one page cover letter that identifies the title, organization(s), respondent’s technical and administrative points of contact – including names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses of all co-authors, and clearly indicating its association with RFI-18-04;
  • A substantive, focused, one-half page executive summary;
  • A description of the technology that answers any/all of the questions listed in the previous section of this RFI (limited to 5 pages, 11 point font, single-sided, single-spaced, 8.5x11 inch paper, with 1 inch margins);
  • Schematics, photographs, and other relevant images as described in the previous section of this RFI, including captions (limited of 5 images);
  • A list of relevant citations;
  • Optionally, a single overview briefing chart graphically depicting the key technological innovation.

Submission Instructions to Respondents

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 5 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, on June 1, 2018. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-04@iarpa.gov as a Word document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-04@iarpa.gov. Do not send questions with proprietary or classified content.

Disclaimers and Important Notes

This is an RFI issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. Respondents are advised that IARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI.

Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. It is the respondent’s responsibility to ensure that the submitted material has been approved for public release by the information owner.

The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited, nor is the Government obligated to issue a solicitation based on responses received. Neither proprietary nor classified concepts or information should be included in the submittal. Input on technical aspects of the responses may be solicited by IARPA from non-Government consultants/experts who are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements.

Contracting Office Address:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States

Primary Point of Contact:

Kristy DeWitt
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-18-04@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-18-04  CLOSED

Posted Date: May 11, 2018
Responses Due: June 1, 2018

 

 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on detection approaches related to marine and coastal biosecurity. This Request for Information is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement contain details of the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.

Background & Scope

The biosecurity of U.S. marine and coastal areas is a key aspect of the United States National Security Strategy with potential impacts to critical infrastructure, commerce, health, and maritime resources. Increasing global commerce, changing climate conditions, and emerging biological technologies create vulnerabilities that the U.S. needs to be prepared to defend against. New capabilities are necessary to ensure that the U.S. can effectively protect critical economic and national resources.

One key aspect of biosecurity is the purposeful or unintentional introduction of aquatic organisms to non-native areas. Aquatic Invasive Species can be transported by a variety of mechanisms, including ship hulls and ballast water, which provide pathways for microbes, eggs, and small invertebrates to travel and disperse. Control measures and monitoring approaches such as offshore ballast water exchange and ballast water management systems have been developed to reduce the risk of AIS introduction, but significant risk remains.

Methods of monitoring for AIS in coastal waterways and ballast water as well as on ship hulls exist, but current approaches are limited and time consuming. In addition, interpretation of complex biological data in ways that provide actionable information to federal, state, and local agencies can be difficult. Challenges with monitoring are compounded by geographic scale, the diversity of life found within these systems, the limited extent of marine reference data, and changes resulting from environmental conditions such as storms, microclimates, and seasonal changes. Development and advancement of capabilities for the detection of aquatic invasive species is needed to enable early detection of risks to food, water, and economic resources.

IARPA is seeking information regarding robust, cost-effective, and standardizable tools for early detection of AIS in both marine and fresh-water environments, ports and marinas, ballast water, and on ship hulls. Challenges that can be addressed in response to this RFI include the ability to detect/identify a broad number of biological taxa, sample collection and extraction, throughput, and data interpretation.

Responses to this RFI may address any or all of the following questions.

1. What cost-effective approaches could be used to screen and/or identify AIS at low population density levels?

2. What fieldable, cost-effective approaches could be used to rapidly screen and/or identify AIS at low population density levels?

3. What cost-effective approaches could identify known AIS as well as detect and/or identify atypical organisms within an aquatic environment?

4. What approaches could be used to increase AIS detection sensitivity and throughput?

5. What indirect methods could be used to detect changes indicative of AIS incursion?

6. What approaches or technologies could enable rapid screening of vessel ballast water and/or hulls for AIS without unduly disrupting the normal operation of those vessels or the ports/marinas where they operate?

7. What methods could be utilized to ruggedize screening tools for field and/or shipboard use?

8. What approaches could be used to distinguish live from dead AIS within a sample? Viable from non-viable organisms (e.g. UV-damaged organisms that are not yet dead but unable to thrive or replicate)?

9. What approaches could significantly improve data capture and interpretation to provide actionable output following AIS identification?

Preparation Instructions to Respondents

IARPA requests that respondents submit ideas related to this topic for use by the government in formulating a potential program. IARPA requests that submittals briefly and clearly describe the potential approach or concept, outline critical technical issues/obstacles, describe how the approach may address those issues/obstacles and comment on the expected performance and robustness of the proposed approach. If appropriate, respondents may also choose to provide a non-proprietary rough order of magnitude estimate regarding what such approaches might require in terms of funding and other resources for one or more years. This announcement contains all of the information required to submit a response. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed.

IARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources from within and outside of the US. Because IARPA is interested in an integrated approach, responses from teams with complementary areas of expertise are encouraged.

Responses have the following formatting requirements:

1. A one page cover sheet that identifies the title, organization(s), respondent's technical and administrative points of contact - including names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses of all co-authors, and clearly indicating its association with RFI-18-03;

2. A substantive, focused, one-half page executive summary;

3. A description (limited to 5 pages in minimum 12 point Times New Roman font, appropriate for single-sided, single-spaced 8.5 by 11 inch paper, with 1-inch margins) of the technical challenges and suggested approach(es);

4. A list of citations (any significant claims or reports of success must be accompanied by citations);

5. Optionally, a single overview briefing chart graphically depicting the key ideas.

Submission Instructions to Respondents

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 5:00 p.m., EDT, on 8 June 2018. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-03@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-03@iarpa.gov. Do not send questions with proprietary content. No telephone inquiries will be accepted.

Disclaimers and Important Notes

This is an RFI issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. Respondents are advised that IARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI. Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the government to form a binding contract. Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. It is the respondent's responsibility to ensure that the submitted material has been approved for public release by the information owner.

The government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited, nor is the government obligated to issue a solicitation based on responses received. Neither proprietary nor classified concepts or information should be included in the submittal. Input on technical aspects of the responses may be solicited by IARPA from non-government consultants/experts who are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements.

Contracting Office Address:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States

Primary Point of Contact:

Dr. Amanda Dion-Schultz
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-18-03@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-18-03  CLOSED

Posted Date: April 23, 2018
Responses Due: June 8, 2018

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is seeking information on data sources for evaluation of credibility assessment techniques and technologies. This Request For Information is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement contain details of the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.

Background & Scope

The assessment of a source’s credibility, or their information, is a core challenge for a broad range of intelligence, defense, homeland security, and law enforcement applications. There are a variety of techniques and technologies that are purported to be useful for establishing the credibility of a source, such as an individual, and/or their information, but it is difficult to evaluate and compare the accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, and practical utility of such solutions. Effective evaluations and comparisons of different credibility assessment methods are hampered by a diversity of testing and demonstration environments, the use of experimental methods that lack construct validity, and other testing conditions that impact the relevance to national security applications, such as poor ecological validity, low stakes or low consequence conditions, and unrepresentative participant cohorts. These concerns are further exacerbated by the potential financial gain for developers of such approaches, which can introduce biased methods and potentially limited reporting about the performance of such systems. Together, these limitations highlight the need for an independent body to motivate and evaluate different credibility assessment techniques and technologies.

To enable such an open and fair evaluation, IARPA seeks data sources that could be compiled and used to independently evaluate and verify the state of the art in credibility assessment techniques and technologies. For this RFI, credibility refers to the veracity of information and/or the person or source providing that information. Assessments of credibility are often complex and may involve an evaluation of many factors of a source and/or the information, to include, but not limited to, veracity, trustworthiness, motivation, considerations about what may be withheld or concealed, and if credibility of information and/or a source has evolved across environments or over time, such as through transmission (e.g. second or third hand information). This RFI seeks data sources that include an evaluation of one, some, or all of these factors, as well as others that are not listed here, as long as they can be theoretically or empirically linked to an evaluation of source and/or information credibility.

Of critical interest are datasets that can be made publically accessible, or accessible via a data use agreement, and which have objective ground truth about the credibility of the source and/or the information. Data sources of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Experimental data from real or mock/simulated scenarios;
  • Data from real world events;
  • Information that is exchanged in physical or virtual spaces, either face to face or via other channels (e.g. exclusively text based);
  • Information that is delivered directly by the individual whose credibility is being evaluated, or through a proxy or intermediate (e.g. messenger, translator, avatar);
  • The credibility of the information and/or source may evolve over time, through transmission, and/or across environments/contexts;
  • Video, audio, behavioral, text, physiological, or other data types.

Responses to this RFI should address the following points:

1. Please describe the dataset.

  • When and how were the data collected?
  • What were the steps in the protocol? How were data collected from a real environment or event?
  • What/who is the source that is being assessed (to include characteristics, such as demographics, as relevant)? And/or what information is being assessed?
  • How is credible vs. not credible defined in the dataset? How is this determined for credibility that may evolve over time, context, or as the information and/or source may evolve?
  • How is credibility demonstrated, evaluated, and verified?
  • What is the motivation or incentive to be/not be credible, or have information be/not be credible?

2. Were the data collected with an approved protocol from an Institutional Review Board (IRB)? Was it determined to be exempt by an IRB? Were there other policies, legal requirements, privacy standards that were adhered to or implemented in the collection or storage of the data?

3. What is the size of the dataset? What is the sample size (e.g. number of participants, unique events, pieces of information)? What is the proportion of credible versus not credible?

4. What specific data types are available? What is the format of the data?

5. Are there restrictions on the use or accessibility of the data? Is there any cost associated with accessing or using the data? What permissions or use agreements are necessary? How are the data accessible (e.g. cloud-based or local repository, local hard drive)? Who has permissions to hold, host, and/or work with the data? What other challenges exist with sharing such data, how might these challenges be overcome?

6. Have the data been analyzed, reported in any publications (e.g. conference papers, informal presentations, manuscripts, official reports), or otherwise been cited in any peer-reviewed, open source, or media reports?

7. Other details that would be useful to understand the data, methods, or usability.

Preparation Instructions to Respondents

IARPA requests that respondents submit ideas related to this topic for use by the government in formulating a potential program. IARPA requests that submittals briefly and clearly describe the potential dataset, address questions related to accessibility and usability, outline critical technical issues/obstacles, and describe how those issues/obstacles may be addressed. This announcement contains all of the information required to submit a response. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed.

IARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources from within and outside of the US. Because IARPA is interested in an integrated approach, responses from teams with complementary areas of expertise are encouraged. Responses have the following formatting requirements:

1. A one-page cover sheet that identifies the title, organization(s), respondent's technical and administrative points of contact - including names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses of all co-authors, and clearly indicating its association with RFI-18-02;

2. A substantive, focused, one-half page executive summary;

3. A description (limited to 8 pages in minimum 12 point Times New Roman font, appropriate for single-sided, single-spaced 8.5 by 11-inch paper, with 1-inch margins) of the technical challenges and suggested approach(es);

4. A list of citations (any significant claims or reports of success must be accompanied by citations);

5. Optional, a single overview briefing chart graphically depicting the key ideas.

Submission Instructions to Respondents

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 5 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, on May 31, 2018. The government anticipates that responses submitted to this RFI may be unclassified or classified.

Unclassified Submissions

All unclassified submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-02@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-02@iarpa.gov. Do not send responses with proprietary content. No telephone inquiries will be accepted.

Classified Submissions

All classified submissions must first receive permission from IARPA Security prior to responding to this RFI.

For classified submissions, contact the IARPA Security Office at 301-851-7580 for further guidance and instructions prior to writing or transmitting classified information to IARPA. IARPA will not accept classified responses without prior validation of accredited spaces and systems on which to write the response. If the response is classified at the SCI level, a Co-Use/Joint-Use Agreement must be coordinated by IARPA with the cognizant security organization prior to writing a response to this RFI. Respondents choosing to submit a classified response are reminded that the proposal deadline remains the same regardless of whether the responses, in whole or in part, is classified. Additional processing time may be required if all or part of a response is classified.

IARPA will not sponsor facility accreditations or personnel security clearances. IARPA will not accept classified deliveries without prior coordination with IARPA Security staff.

Disclaimers and Important Notes

This is an RFI issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. Respondents are advised that IARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI.

Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the government to form a binding contract. Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. It is the respondent's responsibility to ensure that the submitted material has been approved for public release by the information owner.

The government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited, nor is the government obligated to issue a solicitation based on responses received. Proprietary information should not be included in the submittal. Input on technical aspects of the responses may be solicited by IARPA from non-government consultants/experts who are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements.

Contracting Office Address:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States

Primary Point of Contact:

Dr. Alexis Jeannotte
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-18-02@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-18-02  CLOSED

Posted Date: February 27, 2018
Responses Due: May 31, 2018

 

 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on research efforts in the area of detection of special nuclear material (SNM). This request for information (RFI) is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement contain details of the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.

Background & Scope

Radiation emission serves as a signature for the possible presence of SNM. At present, land-based detection of SNM, and other radioactive sources in commerce, is primarily performed by radiation portal monitors (RPMs). These RPMs are positioned at chokepoints such as border crossings, entrances to facilities, or other areas of interest. For roadside applications, RPMs are generally positioned close to traffic lanes so that individual vehicles can be measured while moving at slow speeds in order to maximize detection sensitivity. In some circumstances, there is the need to perform radiation measurements of vehicles along open roadways without impeding the flow of traffic. In these cases, it is necessary to position detectors farther from traffic lanes and to have sufficient sensitivity to measure vehicles moving at highway speeds.

IARPA is interested in novel, innovative, state-of-the-art (SOTA) capabilities in compact, highly sensitive detectors of SNM for a range of applications. Responses to this RFI can describe both existing detectors and concepts for future detectors. Existing applications or areas of interest to IARPA include, but are not limited to:

  • Radiation detection along open roads with vehicles moving at highway speeds
  • Cargo inspection at ports of entry
  • Detection of SNM radiation sources in urban environments

This RFI seeks approaches to the detection and characterization/identification of SNM that are:

  • Highly sensitive (able of detecting at a minimum, Significant Quantities of SNM)
  • Highly compact
  • Inherently ruggedizable (robust against vibration, temperature variations, shock, etc.)
  • Low power

Responses to this RFI should quantitatively address any or all of the following:

Detection Principles
    1. What is the scientific principle that enables your detector?
    2. What are the assumptions that go in to your detector design?
    3. What are the current and theoretical sensitivity limits of your detector?
    4. Does the scientific principle underlying your detector inherently provide directional information? If not, how is directionality estimated and how does directionality affect the sensitivity limits described in question 3? In your answer, please discuss individual sources of error and propagation of uncertainty.
    5. If applicable, what is the imaging resolution associated with your technique? If the resolution is variable, how is detector sensitivity related to resolution?
    6. How does your detector enable the discrimination among sources of radiation, especially SNM sources?
    7. Can you quantify your detector's probability of detection versus distance? Provide the methodology used to render this estimate.
    8. Discuss the effects of shielding of the SNM on your detector. What are your assumptions as to what shielding is of interest?
    9. In your responses, please also include impacts of the external environment on your sensor’s performance (e.g., earth’s background radiation, ubiquitous noise sources, etc.).
Physical Properties
    1. Minimizing size and weight are key considerations. What are the current and lower theoretical limits on the size/weight of your detector? (Please include active detection volume and all supporting hardware in your estimates)
    2. Describe any consumables required by your detector and the rate of consumption of each.
    3. What are the present power requirements for your detector? What are the lower theoretical limit on that power requirement?
    4. Describe your detector’s power management capabilities, to include quiescent and active current measurements, and identify any known transient current draws.
    5. Is your detector technology inherently rugged and man-portable? Does your detector meet any existing Military Specifications (e.g., MIL-STD-810-F)? If so, please identify the standard and any testing methods used. If your technology is not inherently rugged, please describe approaches to ruggedizing it for uses outside the laboratory.
    6. Describe your detector’s operating condition limits with respect to external temperature and pressure or other applicable limiting environmental parameters.
    7. Describe the internal operating conditions of your detector. For example, list the operating temperature and pressure, the internal voltage and current, and other relevant parameters.
    8. Does your sensor design lend itself to array configurations? If so, what are the maximum spacing requirements between detectors so that individual element measurements are optimized?
Data management
  1. What data standard does your system use (e.g., ANSI/IEEE N42.42)?
  2. What are the data processing and storage requirements for your detector? What type of data processing is required for on-board analysis of the collected data?
  3. Discuss the system’s computational and communication architecture (describe data rates). If cloud resources are needed, please explain.
  4. Do you anticipate using proprietary algorithms and/or software? Please explain.

Preparation Instructions to Respondents

IARPA requests that respondents submit ideas related to this topic for use by the Government in formulating a potential program. IARPA requests that submittals briefly and clearly describe the potential approach or concept, outline critical technical issues/obstacles, describe how the approach may address those issues/obstacles and comment on the expected performance and robustness of the proposed approach. If appropriate, respondents may also choose to provide a non-proprietary rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate regarding what such approaches might require in terms of funding and other resources for one or more years. This announcement contains all of the information required to submit a response. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed.

IARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources from within and outside of the US. Because IARPA is interested in an integrated approach, responses from teams with complementary areas of expertise are encouraged.

Responses have the following formatting requirements:

      1. A one-page cover sheet that identifies the title, organization(s), respondent's technical and administrative points of contact - including names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses of all co-authors, and clearly indicating its association with RFI-18-01;
      2. A substantive, focused, one-half page executive summary;
      3. A description (limited to 5 pages in minimum 12 point Times New Roman font, appropriate for single-sided, single-spaced 8.5 by 11-inch paper, with 1-inch margins) of the technical challenges and suggested approach(es);
      4. A list of citations (any significant claims or reports of success must be accompanied by citations);
      5. Optionally, a single overview briefing chart graphically depicting the key ideas.

Submission Instructions to Respondents

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, on 18 December 2017. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-01@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-18-01@iarpa.gov. Do not send questions with proprietary content. No telephone inquiries will be accepted.

Disclaimers and Important Notes

This is an RFI issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. Respondents are advised that IARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI.

Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. It is the respondent's responsibility to ensure that the submitted material has been approved for public release by the information owner.

The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited, nor is the Government obligated to issue a solicitation based on responses received. Neither proprietary nor classified concepts or information should be included in the submittal. Input on technical aspects of the responses may be solicited by IARPA from non-Government consultants/experts who are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements.

Contracting Office Address:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States

Primary Point of Contact:

Dr. Merrick DeWitt
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-18-01@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-18-01  CLOSED

Posted Date: November 20, 2017
Responses Due: December 18, 2017

 

 

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on the use of nanopore sequencing for human identification and/or environmental pathogen characterization. This request for information (RFI) is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. The following sections of this announcement contain details of the scope of technical efforts of interest, along with instructions for the submission of responses.

Background & Scope

DNA sequencing may be used to identify individuals for forensic or investigative purposes and to characterize organisms of concern, such as viruses and bacteria, for biosurveillance and biosecurity applications. While many next-generation sequencing methods are not feasible for field use, nanoporebased sequencing possesses desirable characteristics including label-free sample preparation, lower DNA quantity requirements, and the capacity for technology miniaturization. Long sequence reads of at least 50 kb generated by nanopore sequencing also allow for the resolution of complex or large loci for genotyping and profiling analysis. IARPA is interested in exploring nanopore-based approaches for DNA sequencing that include both benchtop and hand-held “sample-to-answer” device solutions for DNAbased identification and characterization. Specific areas of interest include:

  • Methods for preparation of unknown human or environmental samples for nanopore-based sequencing of specific loci
  • Multiplexed assays based on short tandem repeats (STR), single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), or other analysis type for accurate human identification and pathogen characterization
  • Methods to reduce nanopore sequencing base-calling error rates, such as machine learning, advanced statistical analyses, and modeling
  • Functionalization or modification of nanopores to optimize characteristics and performance for DNA profiling or pathogen characterization applications
  • Approaches for processing and analyzing raw sequence data for human identification and pathogen characterization (e.g., taxonomy, drug/treatment susceptibility, virulence, source attribution)
  • Approaches for processing and analyzing modified nucleobases, nucleobase analogues, and unnatural nucleobases

Responses to this RFI may address any or all of the following questions:

  1. Compare and contrast the leading approaches and assays for human identification based on STR or SNP analysis. Are commercially available kits amenable or convertible to nanopore-based systems?
  2. What standards would be required to enable practical use of nanopore sequencing for STR- or SNPbased DNA profiling? What challenges exist toward developing such standards?
  3. Compare and contrast the leading approaches and assays for pathogen characterization based on nucleic acid sequencing and analysis. Are there other approaches currently under development?
  4. How can sample preparation steps, sequencing, and a data processing pipeline be integrated most effectively for a field-appropriate workflow? Consider scenarios in which cloud-based software or databases may not be accessible.
  5. What are the advantages and disadvantages of biological, solid-state, and hybrid nanopores for the described field-based applications? What are the tradeoffs of 1D and 2D sequencing for this application?
  6. What types of features in DNA sequences create challenges for accurate reads? What methods and approaches can reduce nanopore sequencing base-calling error rates? How might these methods be incorporated into workflows in the requested application space?
  7. How can nanopore functionalization be used to improve sequencing accuracy or be used for pathogen characterization?

Preparation Instructions to Respondents

IARPA requests that respondents submit ideas related to this topic for use by the Government in formulating a potential program. IARPA requests that submittals briefly and clearly describe the potential approach or concept, outline critical technical issues/obstacles, describe how the approach may address those issues/obstacles and comment on the expected performance and robustness of the proposed approach. If appropriate, respondents may also choose to provide a non-proprietary rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate regarding what such approaches might require in terms of funding and other resources for one or more years. This announcement contains all of the information required to submit a response. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed.

IARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources from within and outside of the US. Because IARPA is interested in an integrated approach, responses from teams with complementary areas of expertise are encouraged.

Responses have the following formatting requirements:

  1. A one page cover sheet that identifies the title, organization(s), respondent's technical and administrative points of contact - including names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses of all co-authors, and clearly indicating its association with RFI-17-06;
  2. A substantive, focused, one-half page executive summary;
  3. A description (limited to 6 pages in minimum 11 point Times New Roman font, appropriate for singlesided, single-spaced 8.5 by 11 inch paper, with 1-inch margins) of the technical challenges and suggested approach(es);
  4. A list of citations (any significant claims or reports of success must be accompanied by citations);
  5. Optionally, a single overview briefing chart graphically depicting the key ideas.

Submission Instructions to Respondents

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on 22 September 2017. All submissions must be electronically submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-17-06@iarpa.gov as a PDF document. Inquiries to this RFI must be submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-17-06@iarpa.gov. Do not send questions with proprietary content. No telephone inquiries will be accepted.

Disclaimers and Important Notes

This is an RFI issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. Respondents are advised that IARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI.

Responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. It is the respondent's responsibility to ensure that the submitted material has been approved for public release by the information owner.

The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited, nor is the Government obligated to issue a solicitation based on responses received. Neither proprietary nor classified concepts or information should be included in the submittal. Input on technical aspects of the responses may be solicited by IARPA from non-Government consultants/experts who are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements.

Contracting Office Address:

Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, District of Columbia 20511
United States

Primary Point of Contact:

Dr. John Julias
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
dni-iarpa-rfi-17-06@iarpa.gov

IARPA-RFI-17-06  CLOSED

Posted Date: August 09, 2017
Responses Due: September 22, 2017