NGA releases BIG-R BAA Topic 1
On July 28, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) released Topic 1 of the Boosting Innovative GEOINT Research (BIG-R) broad agency announcement (BAA). Abstracts for Topic 1 – Modeling the Path to COVID-19 Recovery – are due on August 4, and proposals are due on September 9.
The COVID-19 pandemic ranks among the most disruptive disasters to confront the United States during the last half-century, eliciting wide-ranging impacts to healthcare, the economy, and national security. This outbreak challenged nation states and organizations around the world, and posed unprecedented logistical impediments to first responders. Given impacts to NGA’s customer base—the warfighter, the policymaker, and the first responder—NGA is soliciting proposals for applied geospatial research and development that will support economic and humanitarian recovery and inform efforts to anticipate and mitigate subsequent waves of the pandemic, as well as biological threats in the future.
In the absence of a vaccine or effective pharmaceutical therapy, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs)—such as social distancing mandates, travel restrictions, mask policies, and mandatory business closures—constitute the most viable infectious disease mitigation measures at the disposal of policymakers. Epidemiological evidence suggests that the unprecedented magnitude with which nation states employed NPIs to combat COVID-19 yielded substantial reductions in the incidence of infection. However, these NPIs also inflict notable societal and socioeconomic costs, impacting supply chains, local businesses, and mental health. Accordingly, there is a strong incentive to identify and prioritize classes of NPIs that optimize this cost-benefit tradeoff.
To more effectively combat viral respiratory pandemics of the future, the biodefense enterprise must develop data-driven frameworks for the implementation and relaxation of NPIs. The viability of an NPI ultimately depends upon its efficacy in reducing the proliferation of the infectious agent, and the willingness of the underlying population to adhere to the intervention. While the former is driven by epidemiological parameters, the latter is largely a function of sociocultural processes. The COVID-19 pandemic offers a valuable case study for retrospective analysis of the interplay between these epidemiological and sociocultural variables in the context of NPI deployment. These analyses will offer the public health community a set of empirical lessons-learned that can be leveraged to inform policymakers during subsequent waves of infection.
This topic seeks to fund retrospective analyses of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic that explore the nexus of human behavior, human mobility, and spatial heterogeneity in infectious disease transmission. Predictive analyses that build upon historical data will be considered as well. Proposed efforts should focus on cases outside of the United States.
Full information is available here.