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Living Foundries Industry Day

Solicitation Number: DARPA-SN-11-44
Agency: Other Defense Agencies
Office: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Location: Contracts Management Office
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Special Notice
Added: Jun 03, 2011 4:42 pm
Special Notice (SN) DARPA-SN-11-44
SUBJECT: Living Foundries Industry Day
DATE: June 28, 2011
Registration Website:

Living Foundries Industry Day, DARPA-SN-11-44

The Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is sponsoring an Industry Day for "Living Foundries," a new DARPA program. The goal of the Living Foundries program is to apply an engineering framework to biology to harness its use as a technology and drive its advance as a manufacturing platform. In turning biological production into an engineering space where the only limit is the creativity of the designer, Living Foundries aims to enable on-demand production of new and high-value materials, devices and capabilities for the Department of Defense and establish a new manufacturing capability for the United States.

Because of the multidisciplinary nature of Living Foundries, DARPA is looking to engage the wider research community from fields both outside and inside the biological sciences to develop new ideas, approaches and tools to overcome current limitations and to create revolutionary capabilities.

Current, primitive examples of engineering biology rely on an ad hoc, laborious, trial-and-error process, wherein one successful project does not inform subsequent, new designs. This approach combined with the complexity of biological systems restricts current, one-off efforts to modifying only a small set of genes and constructing simple, isolated genetic circuits and metabolic pathways. Consequently, we are limited to producing only a small fraction of the vast number of possible chemicals, materials, and living systems that would be enabled by the ability to truly engineer biology. Through an engineering-driven approach to biology, Living Foundries aims to create a rapid, reliable manufacturing capability where multiple cellular functions can be fabricated, mixed and matched on demand and the whole system controlled by integrated circuitry, opening up the full space of biologically produced materials and systems. Key to success will be the democratization of the biological design and manufacturing process, breaking open the field to those outside the biological sciences.

In order to achieve the vision of Living Foundries, new tools, technologies and methodologies must be developed to transform biology into an engineering practice, decoupling design from fabrication and speeding the biological design, build, test cycle. These include: design tools that span from high-level description to fabrication in cells; modular genetic parts that allow a combination of systems to be designed and reproducibly assembled; methods for developing and fine-tuning new genetic parts and systems; well-understood test platforms, "cell-like" systems and chassis that readily integrate new genetic designs in a predictable fashion; next generation DNA synthesis and assembly techniques; and tools that allow for routine system characterization and debugging, among others. Further, these technological advances and innovations must be integrated to prove-out and push the boundaries of biological design towards the ultimate vision of point-of-use, on-demand, mass-customization biological manufacturing.

The Industry Day will be held at the Capitol Conference Center in Arlington, VA on June 28, 2011. Directions to the Capital Conference Center can be found at

The goals of the Industry Day are: (a) to introduce the research community (industry, academia, and Government) to the Living Foundries vision and goals; (b) to encourage and promote teaming arrangements among potential research organizations that have the relevant expertise, facilities, and capabilities for executing research and development responsive to the Living Foundries program goals; and (c) to facilitate interaction between investigators who may have capabilities to develop elements of interest and relevance to the Living Foundries goals. The Industry Day will include overview presentations, a poster session to facilitate interaction and team building among participants, and an opportunity to interact and present capabilities and concepts to government personnel in closed-door sidebar sessions.

There is no fee for any Industry Day activities. Registration is limited by the venue capacity (maximum of 100 attendees) and early registration is strongly recommended. Organizations are limited to two attendees; however, in the event that the Industry Day is oversubscribed, DARPA reserves the right to limit participation to 1 attendee per organization. The registration cutoff date is June 21, 2011, at noon ET, or once attendance capacity is met, whichever comes first. An on-line registration form, preliminary workshop agenda, citizenship verification form, foreign national visit request form, meeting details, and hotel information for the workshop can be found at the following registration website, There will be no on-site registration.

Posters: Appropriate teaming will be a critical element in responding to an anticipated DARPA Living Foundries solicitation. Industry Day participants are strongly encouraged to prepare poster abstracts describing areas of capabilities in order to facilitate communications, interactions, and teaming discussions during the poster session. Poster abstracts must be submitted by June 21, 2011, at noon ET. Poster abstracts must include a brief (1 page) narrative description of capabilities. Responders may find abstract submission guidance at the registration website. Poster abstracts submitted in response to the Special Notice will be considered public information and will be provided on a public website.

Sidebars: Attendees who wish to describe their capabilities in a closed-door session with government personnel are required to submit an abstract describing their research and capabilities using the guidelines provided below; there will be a limited number of sessions depending on schedule, with each session lasting no more than ten minutes.

Areas of interest include new tools, technologies and methodologies to transform biology into an engineering practice and manufacturing platform, decouple biological design from fabrication and speed the biological design, build, test cycle. Examples include: design tools that span from high-level description to fabrication in cells; modular genetic parts that allow a combination of systems to be designed and reproducibly assembled; methods for developing and fine-tuning new genetic parts and systems; well-understood test platforms, "cell-like" systems and chassis that readily integrate new genetic designs in a predictable fashion; next generation DNA synthesis and assembly techniques; tools that allow for routine system characterization and debugging; and the integration of these capabilities for the rapid design and development of new biological systems and products, among others.

DARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources including but not limited to universities, university affiliated research centers, and private or public companies.

Sidebar session abstract responses should adhere to the following instructions:
1. All submissions must be made electronically (as described below), and be in either Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word format.
2. Cover Page (1 page)
a. Title
b. Organization
c. Responders technical and administrative points of contact (names, mailing and e-mail addresses, phone and fax numbers)
3. Technical Ideas (up to 2 pages of text with up to 4 pages of appended figures and diagrams)
a. Executive summary
b. A discussion of the capability/challenge addressed (from your perspective) that is key to realizing the vision of Living Foundries
c. Technical response. Your discussion should address the following: What is your proposed innovative technology/concept? How does it address the specific capability/challenge that you identified? What is its improvement over SOA? What extensions or advances are needed to achieve the Living Foundries vision?
4. An optional list of citations, including URLs, if available.
5. Company brochures and promotional materials are not of interest.

DARPA will employ an electronic upload process for response submissions. NO CLASSIFIED INFORMATION SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE SPECIAL NOTICE (SN) ABSTRACT RESPONSE. Responses to this SN are due no later than noon ET on June 21, 2011. Responders may find submission guidance at the registration website.

This SN is issued solely for information and potential new program planning purposes; the SN does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals or proposal abstracts, any so sent will be disregarded. In accordance with FAR 15.201(e), responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Submission is voluntary and is not required to propose to subsequent Broad Agency Announcements (if any) or research solicitations (if any) on this topic. DARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this SN. Respondents are advised that DARPA is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received, or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this SN.

DARPA intends to publish the Living Foundries BAA prior to the scheduled Industry Day. However, DARPA is not obligated to publich the BAA prior to conducting the Industry Day or to publich an associated BAA at all. If and when published, the BAA will be made available - at a minimum - on the Federal Business Opportunies (FBO) website.

Questions regarding this event may be directed to Please refer to the "Living Foundries Industry Day" in the subject line.

3701 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, Virginia 22203-1714
Dr. Alicia Jackson