Biological Technologies Office -- Arcadia

Funding Agency:
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Biofilms are everywhere as a natural part of the environment and routinely degrade military equipment. However, biofilms do not have to be a problem. New insights suggest biofilms could be rendered beneficial by redirecting their composition and structure. The Arcadia program will focus on biofilmmediated problems, advancing our understanding of how biofilms form and survive which, when combined with advances in bacterial control, will enable us to build the tools and understanding for biofilm management. This will require advances in modeling biofilm and developing testbeds to replicate in-the-field conditions. Multiple testbeds must run in parallel to grow, track, and test biofilms, capturing variables associated with growth and resilience to perturbation, and enabling further model parameterization. Biofilm management strategies will be rigorously tested not only in the laboratory, but also in the field to foster model refinement and to ensure that models predict real-world biofilms


o Proposal Abstract Due Date and Time: October 25, 2021, 4:00 PM ET

o Full Proposal Due Date and Time: December 15, 2021, 4:00 PM ET

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

To focus technology development, performers will choose one of four application tracks: (1) Drag on UUVs/Gliders; (2) Commercial UUV/Glider Corrosion; (3) Fuel-Tank Corrosion; or (4) Black Mold Inhibition. An individual proposal must address both Technical Areas (TA1 and TA2, described below) and must address only one application track. Performers wishing to address multiple applications should submit separate proposals for each.

  • Drag on Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs)/Gliders Track
  • Commercial Glider/UUV Corrosion Track
  • Fuel-Tank Corrosion Track
  • Black Mold Inhibition Track

Each track will address the same Technical Areas (TAs): Modeling & Analysis of Community Interactions (TA1) and Engineering a Functional and Resilient Biofilm (TA2). The technology will be developed over two phases. During Phase I (24 months), performer teams will directly engage with Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) partners, coordinated by DARPA, who will provide DoD-relevant biofilm samples. Performer teams will then develop highthroughput testbeds to characterize these samples and thereby parameterize their models. Data gleaned at the bench will directly inform network community analyses and models to further develop the target function that is resilient to disturbance(s) for two weeks in the testbed.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

December 15, 2021