DARPA is seeking innovative proposals to develop portable systems for universal organism preservation in the field. Systems must preserve fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Proposed research should consider innovative approaches that enable and integrate revolutionary advances in cross-kingdom microbial ecology, chemistries and formulations, new materials, and/or microfluidics, for universal sample preservation.
AMPHORA aims to decouple sample preservation from cold chain reliance, enabling viable sample preservation in austere or remote locations for further field-forward lab-based assessment. Solutions will be required to preserve the viability and physical properties of any microbe, from any sample, rapidly and maintain that viability in any environment for more than two months.
Approaches that are not human portable and/or rely on portable lyophilization, micro-coolers, and reagents that require refrigeration in the field will be considered nonconforming and may be rejected without further review.
The program will run for 3 years, with 2 phases of 18 months each.
Phase I (18 months) – focus on technology development and benchtop demonstrations, culminating in Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) testing followed by an end of Phase downselect.
Phase II (18 months) – focus on prototype system integration, increased IV&V sample complexity, preservation time, and number of microorganisms to be preserved. Additionally, Phase II performers will develop a portable prototype and demonstrate functionality on real-world samples.
Submissions are due 4 October 2023.
Broad Agency Announcement : AMPHORA