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Funding Opportunity


by SIOP Administrative Office

ARL Releases FOA for Collaborative Alliance on Strengthening Teamwork for Robust Operations in Novel Groups (STRONG)

The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) recently released a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for the Strengthening Teamwork for Robust Operations in Novel Groups (STRONG) program. 

STRONG seeks to develop the foundational sciences for the Army that will enable teaming between future warfighters and intelligent agents, “and specifically, on influencing individuals team members, human or agent, to enhance positive team properties and performance.” 

The program is structured around eight annual program cycles from fiscal year (FY) 2019 to 2026.  Each year, the new topics will build on the progress from the previous year and broader scientific and technological advancement. 

For the FY 2019 cycle, full proposals should be submitted no later than December 21, 2018 at 3:00 PM ET.

The Cycle 1 topic for FY 2019, Theory Development and Team-Level Process, will focus on fundamental research for developing “theories of team-level processes for heterogenous human-agent teams.”  Specifically, research under this topic should address “innovative solutions to advance the development and validation of theoretical principles related to identifying, measuring, understanding, and predicting the team-level states and processes that are critical for effective group-level performance in heterogeneous human-agent teams.”

More details on the Cycle 1 topic are available in the full FOA.  It should be noted that STRONG could build upon previous advances from ARL’s Cognition and Neuroergonomics CTA program

In a departure from the ARL’s previous Collaborative Research Alliances and Technology Alliances (CRA/CTAs), STRONG will fund 10 to 15 awardees annually, through one-year cooperative agreements (CAs), known as “seedling projects.”  Recipients of the seedling projects are required to participate in a 4- to 8-week Summer Innovation Summit at one of the Centers for Agent-Soldier Teaming (CAST), which are located at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, MD and ARL Northeast in Burlington, MA. 

At the Summer Innovation Summits, awardees will present evidence of scientific breakthroughs from the seedling projects and collaborate with other seedling project recipients, promoting the co-development of follow on proposals and creating a critical mass of partnerships between scientists and engineers. 

At the conclusion of year one, seedling awardees are eligible for a three-year extension.  ARL envisions the project extension as an opportunity to promote collaboration between ARL and other seedling project recipients, which is stated as a key metric for the program’s success. The annual program cycles coupled with seedling collaborations are intended to provide the Army with flexibility to make program adjustments as scientific breakthroughs are achieved.

Due Dates:  Eligible applicants may submit full proposals through www.grants.gov.  For the FY 2019 cycle, full proposals should be submitted no later than December 21, 2018 at 3:00 PM ET.

Total Funding and Award Size: ARL anticipates awarding 10-15 seedling projects each cycle, ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 for the initial phase.  Projects selected for extensions will be larger in scope and are anticipated to receive between $350,000 and $500,000 per year for up to three years.  These estimates are subject to funding in the budget and appropriations process.

Eligibility and Limitations: ARL is accepting proposals from institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and industry.  Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) are eligible to apply.  ARL envisions that awardees will have participation from both junior investigators (students, research fellows, and early-career faculty who are less than five years from receiving their PhD or an equivalent degree) and senior investigators.

Source and Additional Background:

  • The full solicitation is available at www.grants.gov under solicitation number “W911NF-19-S-0001.”
  • More information on STRONG is available here.
  • More information on the Cognition and Neuroergonomics CTA is available here.