DARPA Creates Easier Process to Vie for Biotech Funding

November 6, 2014
By Sandra Jontz
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The U.S. Defense Department’s research agency has simplified the process for researchers trying to break into the federal marketplace and earmarked up to $700,000 in seedling funds for cutting-edge biotech ideas.

The Biological Technologies Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created a simplified proposal process to lure new businesses and academic researchers who have not worked previously with the federal government.

Through the new EZ Broad Agency Announcements (BAA) process, applicants submit a two-page white paper describing their ideas to begin the consideration process.

“Some of the most exciting work in biotech is happening at the edges and intersections of disciplines, by people who, in many cases, have never worked with the government before and don’t know how to navigate traditional funding channels,” Alicia Jackson, deputy director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, says in a statement. “Since DARPA itself operates at the edges of science and technology, these are often precisely the people with whom we want to be in business. So we’ve created a process that they can relate to.”

The new EZ BAA removes two barriers: It opens the consideration field to any idea instead of solely responses to specific capabilities stated in advance by DARPA, and it requires just a two-page submission, much fewer than the usual 40 to 60 pages.

The change is part of a trial effort from the Small Business Administration and the Presidential Innovation Fellows program to ease the process for small businesses seeking to do business for the federal government.    

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