National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency -- Boosting Innovative GEOINT - Science & Technology Broad Agency Announcement

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The mission of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Research Directorate is to deliver future Geospatial-Intelligence (GEOINT) capabilities to users for operational impact.  NGA Research supports the National Security Strategy by solving hard defense and intelligence problems for the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense.

In support of this mission, NGA Research promotes research initiatives across a broad spectrum of science and engineering disciplines, and transforms these initiatives into disruptive GEOINT capabilities in support of U.S. national security. The Boosting Innovative GEOINT-Science and Technology (BIG-ST) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) invites proposers to submit innovative concepts to address hard GEOINT problems that align to one or more of the following technical domains: (1) Foundational GEOINT, (2) Advanced Phenomenologies, and (3) Analytic Technologies. Each of these domains is described below and includes a list of example research topics that highlight several (but not all) potential areas of interest. Throughout the open period of this BAA, posted Topic Calls will specify areas associated with these technical domains.

Each posted Topic Call will provide specific timelines for abstract and proposal submission. Proposers are responsible for maintaining awareness of these Topic Calls and associated timelines for submissions. No submissions shall be accepted to the general solicitation; abstracts and proposals will only be reviewed in response to Topic Calls.

In accordance with FAR Part 35, the scope of this BAA is limited to research and development of concepts and technologies that fall within Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) Budget Activities 6.1 to 6.4 and Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 1-6. (See definitions on pages 4 & 5.)

 

Closing Date: Dec. 14, 2026

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Topic 01:  'Geospatial-Intelligence Foundational Model' (GFM) published on 12/15/2023. See 'Related Documents'.

Questions Due on 01/02/2024 @ 5:00pm ET

Abstracts Due on 01/23/2024 @ 5:00pm ET

Proposals Due on 03/04/2024 @ 5:00pm ET (Note: Proposers who do not submit an abstract are ineligible to submit a proposal.)

 

This research topic will explore approaches to developing a new type of Multimodal Foundation Model (MFM) to ingest overhead and ground-level imagery, vector data, terrain data, and ground level images, then show adaptability to perform novel, previously unencountered tasks without being retrained. It will answer specific geospatial questions with verifiable precision and accuracy paired with a rigorously determined level of confidence that can be expressed to an analyst, which will communicate the amount of trust that can be placed in the machine generated answer. It will demonstrate how performance scales with the size of the network designed for geospatial information.

This research topic covers GFM, geospatial artificial intelligence (GeoAI), multimodal machine learning, contrastive machine learning, masked autoencoding, unsupervised machine learning, semi- and self-supervised machine learning, fully supervised machine learning, transformer architectures, cross view image matching, neural networks, Vision Transformers, Shifted Windows (SWIN) Transformers, remote sensing, and geographic information system (GIS).

Eligibility Requirements

For this BAA competition, the following are eligible recipients:  public and private accredited institutions of higher education; University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs), unless prohibited by their Government UARC contract; public or private hospitals and private non-profit organizations, such as, but not limited to, community action agencies, educational research institutes, educational associations, and health centers.  The recipients may also be consortia comprised of any combination of universities, other nonprofit organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and other entities, to the extent that the consortia are legally incorporated as nonprofit organizations.

Eligible candidates may submit proposals in any of the following three categories:

  • NGA University Research Initiatives (NURI) awards.  NURI awards focused on fundamental research in Geospatial Intelligence topics such as those listed under section I paragraph 9. Research Opportunity Synopsis and are open to all eligible U.S. institutions.

 

  • NGA New Investigator Program (NIP) Grants.  These awards are open to faculty employed by eligible institutions who are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent U.S. residents who have held their doctorate degrees (PhD or equivalent) for less than five years at the time of application.  These grants are awarded to the institutions and are intended to support outstanding faculty members’ ability to conduct innovative research on NGA initiatives and to further encourage their research and academic careers.  If awarded, strong institution support for the applicant throughout the grant period is required.  This support may include time released from teaching or administrative responsibilities; the purchase of equipment; support for the applicant's graduate students; or departmental cost sharing.  It must be evident that the institution views the applicant as a truly outstanding, potential leading faculty member, and is making a long-term commitment to his/her application and research. 

 

  • NGA Research Collaboration Forum (NRCF) Grants.  NRCF awards are open to private and public educational institutions that carry out science and engineering research and/or related science and engineering education.  An eligible lead institution will be the primary awardee for purposes of award execution.  These awards are intended to encourage collaboration fora in the United States for the systematic exploration and advancement of greater scientific breakthroughs or understanding in one or more GEOINT research issues.

Funding Type

Grant

Eligibility

Faculty

Category

Engineering and Physical Sciences

External Deadline

December 14, 2026