OSP FO# 11-065

AGENCY: Department of Defense (DOD)/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/Microsystems Technology Office (MTO)

PROGRAM: Reliable Central-Nervous-System Interfaces (RCI)

OBJECTIVES: This program is seeking innovative proposals in the area of reliable neural-interface systems, for recording motor-signal information from and stimulating sensory-feedback information into the central nervous system (CNS). For the purposes of this program, the CNS is defined to include the brain down to but not including the dorsal (sensory) and ventral (motor) roots. The goal of this program is to develop and demonstrate all of the system components necessary to convey enough motor-control intent from the CNS to drive many-degree-of-freedom (DOF) prostheses for the durations of time needed by the patient.

There are multiple CNS-based signals that could be recorded and used to interpret the motor intent of amputees. Proposals based on one or more of these signals will be given full consideration without prejudice or preference. All proposals must clearly define the performance and reliability of existing state-of-the-art (SOA) CNS-interface technology in order to quantify the advantages of the proposed technology. Likewise, all proposals must identify the challenges and limitations of the proposed methods in order to adequately understand the risks involved.

Proposed research should investigate and develop innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in one or more of the following technical areas:

(1) the long-term reliability and performance of CNS motor-control recording interfaces
(2) implanted electronic systems necessary to acquire and transmit CNS motor-control information
(3) new decoding and encoding algorithms that enhance the reliability of CNS-interface systems without compromising performance
(4) new behavioral testing methods for critical evaluation of CNS-interface reliability and performance in an amputee relevant manner
(5) the long-term reliability and accuracy of CNS sensory-feedback stimulus interfaces

The RCI Program will have a duration of three years. The proposal should include, for each Technical Area being addressed, (1) a detailed experimental plan for completion of all milestone-oriented tests within any proposed phases, (2) a detailed budget for each individually priced Technical Area and proposed phase by Federal Government Fiscal Year, and (3) proposed internal milestones for measuring progress.

Please see program announcement for further program details.

DEADLINE: May 16, 2011, 11:59AM Eastern

FUNDING INFORMATION: Multiple awards are anticipated. Depending on the quality of proposals received, total funding for all awards made under this program is limited to no more than $18 million for multi-disciplinary research teams in each of the five technical areas of interest.

Dr. Jack W. Judy
Program Manager
3701 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, Virginia 22203-1714
Telephone:(703) 351-8293
Email: DARPA-BAA-11-37@darpa.mil
Web:  http://www.darpa.mil/Opportunities/Solicitations/MTO_Solicitations.aspx

REMARKS: Full proposals may be submitted through the T-FIMS application or through the Grants.gov system. Grant or cooperative agreement proposals may only be submitted to DARPA through Grants.gov or in hard-copy. Applications cannot be submitted in part to Grants.gov and in part as a hard-copy. Instructions and forms are available on the Grants.Gov web site (http://www.grants.gov). Additional information about Grants.gov for BU Investigators can be obtained on the OSP web site at: http://www.bu.edu/osp/proposal-preparation/electronic-submission/. Investigators should contact the OSP Assistant Director assigned to their school or department as soon as possible to coordinate submission through the Grants.gov system.

Complete program guidelines and application material (DARPA-BAA-11-37) may be obtained from the web sites listed above or from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Please distribute this notice to any faculty or staff members who might be interested in the information. For more information, please contact the OSP at X3-4365 or ospinfo@bu.edu, or visit the OSP web site at http://www.bu.edu/osp.