IARPA posts Marine and Coastal Biosecurity RFI
On April 23, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity posted a Request for Information (RFI) on Marine and Coastal Biosecurity (Solicitation Number: IARPA-RFI-18-03). Responses are due no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern on June 8.
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on detection approaches related to marine and coastal biosecurity. 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 and 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 (AIS) 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.
Full information is available here.