By design, DARPA reaches for transformational change instead of incremental advances, but DARPA does not perform its engineering alchemy in isolation. It works within an innovation ecosystem that includes academic, corporate and governmental partners, with a constant focus on the Nation’s military Services, which work with DARPA to create new strategic opportunities and novel tactical options.
Universities are an integral part of the innovation ecosystem, and DARPA seeks robust engagement directly with potential university partners. DARPA's work spans the spectrum from basic research to applied research to operational applications--a range of activity that offers numerous opportunities for academic engagement.
The first step to working with DARPA is to visit the Agency’s website at www.darpa.mil to learn more about the research that DARPA's technology offices are supporting. From there, the best way to identify opportunities that bridge those priorities and your interests or expertise is to search for relevant Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs), which are DARPA’s primary means of advertising opportunities. DARPA BAAs and Requests for Proposals (RFPs) can be found on the official federal acquisition opportunities websites, www.fbo.gov and www.grants.gov. A partial listing of DARPA opportunities can also be found at DARPA's Opportunities page. The preferred method for submitting ideas and concepts to DARPA is to respond to a BAA, SBIR topic, STTR topic, program research and development announcement (RA), or other Government-initiated solicitation or program (RFP).
DARPA often hosts Proposers Days to provide information on recently released or soon-to-be released BAAs. Proposers Days are usually held at the DARPA Conference Center, Room 01-200, 675 N. Randolph Street, Arlington Virginia. The purpose of these conferences is to provide information on the program, promote additional discussion and address questions from potential proposers. Some Proposers Days also allow for registration of one-on-one meetings with the relevant DARPA program manager. Proposers Days are announced on www.fbo.gov and www.grants.gov.
The Young Faculty Award program provides additional opportunities for rising research stars in junior faculty positions to engage with DARPA and earn funding for their work.
Our Polyplexus social collaboration platform is open to the public, and DARPA is especially interested in participation of current and retired researchers, scientists, and engineers. Through Polyplexus, DARPA aims to quicken the pace of U.S. technology development by applying the power of social networks to research and development. The platform facilitates connections among experts across academic disciplines so they can propel novel research opportunities together. It is composed of three integrated components: a public information feed where users can promote interesting research and connect it to other research via tweet-like summary statements called micropubs; a private tool for synthesizing new ideas, known as micropub portfolios; and an incubator environment. Incubators allow research sponsors in government and industry to post specific topics of interest and find research and development specialists to address their challenges. DARPA's Defense Sciences Office intends to fund a series of seedling efforts developed through the incubators. Sign up to become a "plexor" at https://polyplexus.com/users/login.
Consistent with national policy and DoD Directives, DARPA fully supports free scientific exchanges and dissemination of research results to the maximum extent possible. Please review our policy on fundamental research for more information.
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