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AFP Photo/David McNew
Pentagon’s main innovation unit is looking for promising ideas that would help thwart infectious disease outbreaks, including Ebola epidemic that already claimed almost 5,000 lives out of 13,241 officially confirmed cases worldwide.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Pentagon’s research organization tasked with developing advanced military technology has announced a tender for innovative research proposals of interest to the Biological Technologies Office (BTO).

“BTO is interested in a range of emerging technical areas, including but not limited to human-machine interfaces, human performance, infectious disease, and synthetic biology. The overarching goal is to develop, demonstrate, and transition biologically-based technologies as part of the national security toolkit,” the solicitation reads.

The Pentagon’s technology arm is prepared to invest up to $700,000 in a promising idea that shows potential in “revolutionary advances in science, technologies, or systems.” It calls on scientists to “radically change established practice.”

“DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, which launched earlier this year, looks at biology as a technology, with a focus on harnessing living systems or integrating those systems with nonliving systems,” said Alicia Jackson, deputy director of DARPA’s biological technologies office.

The global Ebola crisis which has already affected a number of US states, is one of the concerns for the Department of Defense, but overall the research aims to tackle other potential virus-related threats.

“We are trying to rethink that paradigm. We’re not just interested in solving the Ebola crisis. We want to be prepared for the next thing. We’re looking for a way to completely transform the way we’re attacking these problems, either with a vaccine or therapeutics or diagnostics,” said Jackson.

Jackson wants the applicants to submit white papers no longer than two pages. In-house DARPA managers will review the proposals before asking some teams to proceed with a longer treatment.

Read more at RT News

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