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DARPA Unveils Advanced Research Concepts Initiative; Director Stefanie Tompkins Quoted

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched an initiative to rapidly explore novel technology concepts that seek to address high-risk, high-reward “what if” questions.

DARPA said Wednesday the Advanced Research Concepts initiative intends to invest in research that could be transitioned into new technologies for U.S. national security.

The agency will open each ARC topic for up to six months and evaluate on a rolling basis submitted concepts with the goal of awarding contracts for selected ideas within weeks.

One engineer or scientist will be funded as a full-time equivalent to work on the approved concept and find the answer to a particular topic question for 12 months.

Status quo is a losing strategy. We need to explore many topics to find those rare DARPA ideas that could result in new, game-changing technologies for U.S. national security,” said Stefanie Tompkins, director of DARPA and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner. 

The agency said early career scientists and engineers selected under the DARPA Innovation Fellowship Program will come up with topics for the ARC initiative, assess the submitted concepts and manage the participants selected to get ARC funding.