Scientific & Technical Intelligence

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on methods for analyzing scientific and technical (S&T) activities, investments, and developments, and for forecasting S&T trends and milestones. 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

The purpose of this RFI is to identify existing methods (e.g., processes, models, or products) that assess S&T activities, investments, and developments, or forecast S&T trends and milestones. These methods would ideally provide frequently updated, quantitative, time-bound responses to S&T questions within single or multiple technical sectors.

Examples of S&T questions that such systems could answer include, but are not limited in scope to, the following:
  •   “Which companies lead the world in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) manufacturing?”
  •   “What is the probability of a 10cm carbon nanotube being fabricated before 31 Dec 2014?”
  •   “Among abstracts accepted for the 2015 International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) conference, will the number containing the term ’deep learning’ exceed the number containing the term ’support vector machine(s)’?”
  •   “How many unique assignees will have at least two USPTO patent applications published using the term ’Type III Secretion System’ in their title/abstract/background/claims between 1 Oct 2013 and 30 Sep 2014?”
  •   “By 31 Dec 2017, how many FDA-approved products will be based on RNA interference?”
  •   “Will there be reported shortages of technetium-99m in the US in 2015?”
Responses to this RFI should answer any or all of the following questions:
  1. What existing methods and data sets are applicable to analyzing S&T developments and more specifically to forecasting S&T trends and milestones?
  2. What are appropriate metrics and protocols to measure the performance of these methods?
  3. What empirical evidence exists on the performance of these methods?
  4. Do these methods work better over some time horizons than others?
  5. Do these methods work better on some S&T topics or commercial sectors than others?
  6. How much do these methods cost to implement and maintain (e.g., in terms of data, methods, labor, and/or computational resources)?
  7. What novel methods or data sources could be developed to improve performance, relative to existing methods?
  8. How are S&T forecasts used by your organization?
  9. What metrics are most effective for measuring the impact of a technological change – for example, market share, new market size, shifts in investment, or reduced process time?

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) 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-13-06;
  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, and reference material MUST be attached);
  5. Optionally, a single overview briefing chart graphically depicting the key ideas.

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 or reimbursement for travel. 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.

For information contact:
Posted Date: September 27, 2013
Responses Due: October 25, 2013