Biological Technologies Office -- ReSource

Funding Agency:
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The goal of the ReSource program is to provide the military with an integrated system to convert plastics, and other energydense waste, into food and strategic chemicals. Developed technologies should function in austere environments to extend long-term missions by engaging single-use wastes and scavenged materials as feedstock, consequently decreasing the logistic burdens and risks associated with delivery of supplies. 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting innovative proposals to address the following areas: (1) preparation of complex waste mixtures to enable their accelerated biological and bio-inspired conversion; (2) liberation of simple functional products and organic upgradeable molecules from pre-treated waste mixes; and (3) generation of strategic materials and chemicals through upgrading processes. Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in the development of novel polymerdegrading enzymes, optimized biological chassis systems, formulation of techniques to use mixed waste as inputs to biochemical reactions and feed engineered biological organisms, and invention of processes that generate high-value materials on-demand. Enhanced robustness to chemical and physical conditions atypical of natural biological systems will be critical, with final integrated systems anticipated to employ novel hybrids of mechanical, biological, and chemical catalytic approaches. While biological organisms are capable of degrading the components of military waste (e.g., food, plastic, paper, and metal) there are currently no biological technologies capable of reforming waste polymers to valuable materials. Key innovations are necessary to build a platform for rapidly transforming energy-dense waste into food/macronutrients, lubricants, or other strategically relevant products. Specifically excluded is research that primarily results in incremental improvements to the existing state of practice. 


o Proposal Abstract Due Date and Time: September 26, 2019, 4:00 PM ET

o Full Proposal Due Date and Time: November 5, 2019, 4:00 PM ET




Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

November 5, 2019