DARPA launches program to streamline path of scientific discovery
ARLINGTON, Va. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA’s) Defense Sciences Office (DSO) -- which has as its mission the identification and pursuit of high-risk, high-payoff research initiatives across a broad spectrum of science and engineering disciplines -- has announced the first programs under its new Disruptioneering effort, which pushes for faster identification and exploration of bold and risky ideas with the goal of accelerating scientific discovery.
Under the new concept, DSO program managers intend to develop small programs of $5 million or less in total funding on an expedited timeline, with an initial target of less than 90 days for progressing from idea inception to contract award and a downstream target of fewer than 75 days.
The initiative’s first two programs are Fundamental Design (FUN DESIGN) and Imaging Through Almost Anything, Anywhere (ITA3): FUN DESIGN aims to investigate new fundamental computational and mathematical building blocks for representing novel and optimized designs of mechanical systems, whereas ITA3 seeks to determine the 3-D resolution/range trade space based on the use of all-pervasive low-frequency, electromagnetic waves, combined with simple computational methods to consider the challenge of imaging through metal containers, walls, ground, fog, water, and other complex media.
Tyler McQuade, acting director of DSO, said of the new initiative: “There’s a vast waterfront of research in science and technology that we’re constantly scanning and probing for the next big discovery. These Disruptioneering ‘mini-programs’ are designed to quickly explore some of the most radical and potentially highest-payoff ideas to see if there’s something there to be pursued further. The goal is to speed up the tempo of innovation and ultimately to reduce risk by making smaller targeted investments that could lead to quantum leaps forward in technology for national defense.”