DARPA knows that the ideas leading to breakthrough technologies for national security often start small. To maximize the pool of innovative proposal concepts it receives, DARPA strongly encourages participation by all capable sources: industry, academia, and individuals.
Become familiar with DARPA’s mission and philosophy to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies that will ensure ongoing U.S. military superiority and security. Review Breakthrough Technologies for National Security, which provide an overview of the Agency.
DARPA maintains and encourages a culture of innovation and the ability to execute rapidly and effectively. To do this, the agency recruits individuals, who are at the top of their fields - from industry, academia, and government agencies - to tackle difficult challenges and to take big risks that push the limits of their disciplines. Program Managers (PMs) are the key to working with DARPA. PMs are generally with the agency for 3-5 years, and a program typically ends when the PM leaves.
DARPA funding opportunities are advertised through Broad Agency Announcements (BAA), Research Announcements (RA), or other government-initiated announcement or program posted on the official SAMbeta.gov website (https://beta.sam.gov/) and the Federal Grants Opportunities website (www.grants.gov).
DARPA SBIR/STTR topics are included in the DoD SBIR and STTR Program Announcements at https://sbir.defensebusiness.org/.
DARPA purchases products and supplies through GSA Advantage: www.gsaadvantage.gov
Proposers Day conferences may allow for registration of one-on-one meetings with the relevant DARPA Program Manager. Proposers Day details will be included in the BAA or a Special Notice (SN) posted to SAMbeta.gov and grants.gov.
Prior to submitting an executive summary, white paper or proposal, visit http://www.darpa.mil/about-us/people to find a PM who may be interested in your idea. Email the PM to initiate a discussion. In your message, use the
Heilmeier Catechism as a guide when approaching a DARPA PM with ideas. Important questions to consider:
What are you trying to do and how does it align with the PM's program(s)?
Avoid using jargon.
How does this get done today?
What is new about your approach?
If you succeed, what difference do you think it will make?
How long do you think it will take?
Can your work transition - to DoD (the warfighter), other government
agencies, and the commercial market?
How much will it cost?
Ideas should be compelling with potential for eliciting revolutionary
change. Low-risk/low-impact ideas that will result in incremental
improvement are typically not pursued.
DARPA’s Contracts Management Office (CMO) has the authority to enter into and administer contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and Other Transactions in pursuit of DARPA’s research and development mission. CMO’s role is to serve as DARPA’s acquisition advisor and make awards in select, critical technology areas. The bulk of DARPA awards are entered into on behalf of the agency by the military services, who assist DARPA with technology transition to the warfighter.
For more information visit Contracts Management.
The preferred method for submitting ideas and concepts to DARPA is to respond to one of the following funding opportunities: program or open BAA, SBIR or STTR topic, RA, or RFP.
For more information visit Unsolicited Proposals.
Learn more about developing your business, science and technology policy, networking opportunities, and other opportunities for your business. These are just some of many available federal resources:
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