LAKE WALES, Fla. — DARPA, the United States' Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, funds big ideas that sometimes become gigantic successes, after taking on equally gigantic risks (many projects fail). Often groups from universities or researchers get the funds. Now the little guy with a big idea can access DARPA's funding through its Commercial Performer Program, which aims to harness unfunded big ideas from small businesses and individual inventors.
“An alluring reach-out strategy, unprecedented within the DoD,” said DARPA about non-government entities that have had less than $50M in contracts with the DoD in the last year.
Called the Commercial Performer Program, and directed by DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) the original solicitation (DARPA-PA-17-0) states that:
“The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) is seeking to support innovative ideas relevant both to the commercial sector and to Department of Defense (DoD) applications. This solicitation specifically invites commercial entities with non-incremental ideas to apply.”
Non-incremental means DARPA is looking to start new programs from new ideas, so put your thinking caps on out there. If you have had an idea that you thought was too far out to fit into any of their existing categories, here is you chance to spread your wings. The application, they say, should be “no more” than 10 pages long and is described in detail in MTO’s Commercial Performer Program Announcement.
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