A. Overview Information
I. Federal Agency Name: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Information Processing Technology Office
II. Funding Opportunity Title: Biologically-Inspired Cognitive Architectures (BICA)
III. Announcement Type: Initial Broad Agency Announcement
IV. Funding Opportunity Number: BAA 05-18
V. CFDA Number: 12.910
VI. Key Dates
a. Proposals Due: Initial Closing: 12:00 Noon (ET), March 1, 2005
b. Final Closing: 12:00 Noon (ET), January 17, 2006
c. All administrative correspondence and questions on this solicitation, including requests for information on how to submit a proposal to this BAA, must be received at one of the administrative addresses below by 12:00 Noon (ET) January 3, 2006
d. DARPA will be holding a Pre-Proposal Conference for interested parties on January 27, 2005, at the Westfields Marriott Hotel in Chantilly, VA. Please see http://www.dsic-web.net/meetings/s6tbr2jy/index.html for more details and to register.
B. Full text of announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
The DARPA Information Processing Technology Office (DARPA/IPTO) is soliciting proposals under this BAA to perform research and development to support the Biologically-Inspired Cognitive Architectures (BICA) program. The main goal of the program is to develop and evaluate psychologically-based and neurobiologically-based theories, design principles, and architectures of human cognition. In a subsequent phase, the program has the ultimate goal of implementing and evaluating computational models of human cognition that could eventually be used to simulate human behavior and approach human cognitive performance in a wide range of situations.
1.1 PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
Phase 1 of this program is divided into three parallel thrusts. Thrust A seeks to make dramatic advances in the breadth and performance of cognitive models based primarily on modeling the functional psychological components of cognition. Thrust B seeks to develop neurobiologically-inspired theories, designs, and resulting architecture(s). Thrust C seeks development of a framework evaluating implementations of the cognitive architectures created in Thrusts A and B. Each of these thrusts is discussed in Section 2, below. Potential bidders are encouraged to review the BAA?s Proposer Information Pamphlet (PIP) for further detail. See section IV-6.
1.2 PROGRAM SCOPE
This program consists of 2 phases. This BAA is for Phase 1 only, which will span 13 months. Within each Phase 1 thrust, we anticipate three sequential tasks: (1) Theory Development, (2) Technical Exchange, and (3) Architecture Development. The first task will have a duration of six months. The second task ? a series of technical exchange meetings common to all thrusts ? will span a period of about one month. The third task within each thrust will have a duration of six months.
2. TECHNICAL APPROACH
It is the goal of Thrust A to design computational models of human cognition by modeling functions of the human mind such as (1) perception and attention, (2) learning and memory, and (3) decision making and problem solving. DARPA is seeking cognitive models that result in human-like behavior on real world problems that are not merely ?toy? problems. In Thrust B, DARPA seeks a dramatic improvement in our understanding of the brain?s functions and processes. Initially, we seek a major leap in the performance of traditional AI systems by augmenting and informing their designs with neuroscience principles. We expect to develop a global theory of cognition and one or more neurobiologically-inspired, integrated cognitive architectures. DARPA is seeking the development of an evaluation framework, Thrust C, for the cognitive architectures developed under Thrusts A and B. Two test batteries will be developed: a suite of tests of individual cognitive functions and a set of challenge problems that require the integrated use of multiple cognitive functions.
Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches and techniques that lead to or enable revolutionary advances in the state-of-the-art. Proposals are not limited to the specific strategies listed above, and alternative visions will be considered. However, proposals should be for research that substantially contributes towards the goals stated. Specifically excluded is research that primarily results in minor evolutionary improvement to the existing state of practice or focuses on special-purpose systems or narrow applications.
II. Award Information
The Government reserves the right to select all, some, or none of the proposals received in response to this solicitation and to make awards without discussions with offerors; however, the Government reserves the right to conduct discussions if the Source Selection Authority later determines them to be necessary. Final funding determination will be based on the combination of proposed approaches which will reasonably support program success. Proposals identified for funding may result in a contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other transaction depending upon the nature of the work proposed, the required degree of interaction between the parties, and other factors. If warranted, portions of resulting awards may be segregated into pre-priced options.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
All responsible sources capable of satisfying the Government's needs may submit a proposal that shall be considered by DARPA. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Institutions (MIs) are encouraged to submit proposals and join others in submitting proposals. However, no portion of this BAA will be set aside for HBCU and MI participation due to the impracticality of reserving discrete or severable areas of this research for exclusive competition among these entities.
Awards made under this BAA may be subject to the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 9.5, Organizational Conflict of Interest. All offerors and proposed subcontractors must affirmatively state whether they are supporting any DARPA technical office(s) through an active contract or subcontract. All affirmations must state which office(s) the offeror supports, and identify the prime contract number. Affirmations should be furnished at the time of proposal submission. All facts relevant to the existence or potential existence of organizational conflicts of interest, as that term is defined in FAR 2.101, must be disclosed in Section II, I. of the proposal, organized by task and year. This disclosure shall include a description of the action the Contractor has taken, or proposes to take, to avoid, neutralize, or mitigate such conflict.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
Cost sharing is not required for this particular program; however, cost sharing will be carefully considered where there is an applicable statutory condition relating to the selected funding instrument (e.g., for any Technology Investment Agreement under the authority of 10 U.S.C. 2371).
IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Package
This announcement contains all information required to submit a proposal. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed. [Note: see paragraph 6, ?other submission requirements,? for reference to the Proposer Information Pamphlet (PIP).]
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
This Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) requires completion of a BAA Cover Sheet for each Proposal prior to submission. This cover sheet can be accessed at the following URL:
After finalizing the BAA Cover Sheet, the proposer must print the BAA Confirmation Sheet that will automatically appear on the web page. Each proposer is responsible for printing the BAA Confirmation Sheet and attaching it to every copy. The Confirmation Sheet should be the first page of the Proposal. If a proposer intends to submit more than one Proposal, a unique UserId and password must be used in creating each BAA Cover Sheet. Failure to comply with these submission procedures may result in the submission not being evaluated.
Security classification guidance on a DD Form 254 (DoD Contract Security Classification Specification) will not be provided at this time since DARPA is soliciting ideas only. After reviewing incoming proposals, if a determination is made that contract award may result in access to classified information, a DD Form 254 will be issued upon contract award. If you choose to submit a classified proposal you must first receive the permission of the Original Classification Authority to use their information in replying to this BAA.
REQUIREMENTS/PROCEDURES: The Award Document for each proposal selected and funded will contain a mandatory requirement for submission of DARPA/IPTO Quarterly Status Reports and an Annual Project Summary Report. These reports will be submitted electronically via the DARPA/IPTO Technical-Financial Information Management System (T-FIMS), utilizing the government-furnished Uniform Resource Locator (URL) on the World Wide Web (WWW). Further details may be found in the Proposer Information Pamphlet (PIP).
Proposers must submit an original and 2 hard copies (3 total) and 2 electronic copies (i.e., 2 separate disks) of the abstract or full proposal (in PDF or Microsoft Word 2000 for IBM-compatible format on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, 100 MB Iomega Zip disk or cd). Mac-formatted disks will not be accepted. Each disk must be clearly labeled with BAA 05-18, proposer organization, proposal title (short title recommended) and Copy number of 2.
3. Submission Dates and Times
The full proposal (original and designated number of hard and electronic copies) must be submitted in time to reach DARPA by 12:00 NOON (ET) March 1, 2005, in order to be considered during the initial evaluation phase. However, BAA 05-18, Biologically-Inspired Cognitive Architectures (BICA) will remain open until 12:00 NOON (ET) January 17, 2006. Thus, proposals may be submitted at any time from issuance of this BAA through January 17, 2006. While the proposals submitted after the March 1, 2005 deadline will be evaluated by the Government, proposers should keep in mind that the likelihood of funding such proposals is less than for those proposals submitted in connection with the initial evaluation and award schedule. DARPA will acknowledge receipt of submissions and assign control numbers that should be used in all further correspondence regarding proposals.
4. Intergovernmental Review ? N/A
5. Funding Restrictions
Authorization of precontract costs will be considered in situations of genuine urgency where programmatic benefits will accrue from their use.
6. Other Submission Requirements
Proposers must obtain the BAA 05-18 Proposer Information Pamphlet (PIP), which provides further information on the areas of interest, submission, evaluation, funding processes, and proposal formats. The PIP will be posted directly to FedBizOpps.gov and may also be obtained at URL address http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/Solicitations/solicitations.htm. Proposals not meeting the format described in the pamphlet may not be reviewed. This notice, in conjunction with the BAA 05-18 PIP and all references, constitutes the total BAA. No additional information is available, nor will a formal RFP or other solicitation regarding this announcement be issued. Requests for same will be disregarded.
V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria (listed in descending order of relative importance):
(1) Overall Scientific and Technical Merit: The overall scientific and technical merit must be clearly identifiable and compelling. The technical concepts should be clearly defined and developed. The technical approach must be sufficiently detailed to support the proposed concepts, technical claims, and applicability to follow-on work including Phase 2 of the program.
(2) Innovative Technical Solution to the Problem: Offerors should apply new and/or existing technology in an innovative way that supports the objectives of the proposed effort. The proposed concepts and systems should show breadth of innovation across all the dimensions of the proposed solution. Offerors must also specify quantitative experimental methods and metrics for measuring progress of the effort.
(3) Potential Contribution and Relevance to DARPA/IPTO Mission: The offeror must clearly address how the proposed effort will meet the goals of the undertaking and how the proposed effort contributes to significant advances to DARPA/IPTO.
(4) Offeror's Capabilities and Related Experience: The qualifications, capabilities, and demonstrated achievements of the proposed principals and other key personnel for the primary and subcontractor organizations must be clearly shown.
(5) Plans and Capability to Accomplish Technology Transition: The offeror should provide a clear strategy and plan for transition to Phase 2 of program. Offerors should also provide a plan for transition of appropriate technology components and information to the user community.
(6) Cost Realism: The overall estimated costs should be clearly justified and appropriate for the technical complexity of the effort. Evaluation will consider the value of the research to the government and the extent to which the proposed management plan will effectively allocate resources to achieve the capabilities proposed.
2. Review and Selection Process
It is the policy of DARPA to ensure impartial, equitable, comprehensive evaluation of all proposals and to select the source (or sources) whose offer meets the Government?s technical and policy goals. Evaluation of proposals will be accomplished through a scientific review of each proposal, using the above criteria.
Proposals will not be evaluated against each other, since they are not submitted in accordance with a common work statement. DARPA's intent is to review proposals as soon as possible after they arrive; however, proposals may be reviewed periodically for administrative reasons.
Restrictive notices notwithstanding, proposals may be handled for administrative purposes by support contractors. These support contractors are prohibited from competition in DARPA technical research and are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements. Input on technical aspects of the proposals may be solicited by DARPA from non-Government consultants /experts who are also bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements. However, non-Government technical consultants/experts will not have access to proposals that are labeled by their offerors as ?Government Only?. Use of non-government personnel is covered in FAR 37.203(d).
VI. Award Information Administration
1. Award Notices
Principal Investigators will receive a letter informing them of the disposition of their proposal via U.S. mail.
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Proposers may wish to visit DARPA?s Contracts Management Office (CMO) website (http://www.darpa.mil/cmo/pages/modelgrantagreement.htm) for model grant and cooperative agreement terms and conditions.
Post-award reporting requirements are set forth in Section B.I, Funding Opportunity Description. Additional details are contained in the Proposer Information Pamphlet. The DARPA/CMO website referenced above also provides general information about reports required specifically for grants and cooperative agreements.
VII. Agency Contacts
Fax: (703) 741-7804 Addressed to: DARPA/IPTO, BAA 05-18
Electronic Mail: BAA05email@example.com
Electronic File Retrieval: http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/Solicitations/solicitations.htm
Mail to: DARPA/IPTO
ATTN: BAA 05-18
3701 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203-1714
Who can apply:
Eligible functional categories:
Research and Technology Development
If you have problems accessing the full announcement, please contact:
Coordinator, IPTO BAA
Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Contracts Management Office