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Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) Proposersí Day

Solicitation Number: DARPA-SN-14-07
Agency: Other Defense Agencies
Office: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Location: Contracts Management Office
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Special Notice
Added: Oct 24, 2013 3:57 pm Modified: Oct 24, 2013 4:35 pmTrack Changes

The burden of psychiatric and neurologic disease in military personnel is growing and unlikely to diminish over the next decade or more.  Ten percent of all individuals who receive care from the Veterans’ Health Administration (VHA) receive mental health care or substance abuse counseling and estimates of underlying injury in the broader warfighter and veteran population suggest a larger unmet need.  Traumatic brain injury (TBI) often involves multiple structures of the brain and has been referred to as one of the signature injuries of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.  A more complete understanding of these complex, systems based disorders is necessary to develop novel therapies and more effective treatments.

Despite recent advances, clinicians and researchers remain limited by the tools available to study, understand, and treat systems of the brain.  To achieve maximum benefit, clinicians are often forced to complete a slow, repetitive, and imprecise cycle of observing behaviors and fine-tuning drug or behavioral therapy until the effects of a disease are reduced.  The science has, to this point, been largely based on a century of identifying associations between features of complex behaviors and diffuse understanding of the brain.

SUBNETS seeks to move beyond this limited understanding to create new interventions based on new insights that can be gained from the intersection of neuroscience, neurotechnology, and clinical therapy.  While there is no question that brain activity, anatomy, and behavior are functionally linked, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that many neural and behavioral processes are not localized to specific anatomical regions, but are emergent from systems that span several regions of the brain.  SUBNETS will attempt to establish the capability to record and model how these systems function in both normal conditions, among volunteers seeking treatment for unrelated neurologic disorders, as well as among impaired clinical research participants.  The goal is to alleviate the burden of psychiatric and neurological disease through multi-region recording and stimulation by observing neural dysfunction, modeling the relationship between neural systems and behavior, and applying an intervention through neural actuation.


The Defense Sciences Office (DSO) within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is interested in developing the ability to create a device-based, closed-loop diagnostic and therapeutic system for multiple subnetworks of the brain.  Through measuring pathways involved in complex systems-based brain disorders (e.g., Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, TBI, Substance Abuse/Addiction, Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain), SUBNETS will establish the capability to record and model how these systems function.  SUBNETS will then use these models to determine appropriate therapeutic stimulation methodologies that meet guidelines for both safety and efficacy in human participants.  Finally, SUBNETs seeks to fabricate next-generation, closed-loop neural stimulators that exceed currently developed capacities for simultaneous stimulation and recording.

 DARPA will host a Proposer’s Day entitled “Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS),” which is related to recently released DARPA Broad Agency Announcement (DARPA-BAA-14-09), also titled “SUBNETS.”  We anticipate that the Proposers’ Day will entail multi-disciplinary discussions among psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, neural engineers, microelectronic engineers, neuroscientists, statisticians, and mathematicians, with representatives from academia, government, and industry working within these disciplines.

See attached DARPA-SN-14-07

Added: Nov 19, 2013 1:34 pm
The purpose of Modification 1 to DARPA-SN-14-07, Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS) Proposers' Day, is to add the option of remote participation via webcast.

The following section is added:

A webcast of the meeting will be broadcast for those who would like to participate remotely. Remote participation via webcast is by registration only and limited to 500 participants. The registration cutoff date for the webcast is 12:00 p.m. (EST), November 21, 2013.

Workshop details including webcast registration and webcast URL are given on the registration website at Website Login Information - Username: subnets, Password (case sensitive): arlington.

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Other (Draft RFPs/RFIs, Responses to Questions, etc..)
Posted Date:
October 24, 2013
Description: DARPA-SN-14-07
675 North Randolph Street
Arlington, Virginia 22203-2114
United States
Justin Sanchez,