ITIF Breakfast with Dr. Erica Fuchs

As we’ve discussed here before, DARPA has shifted its research strategy from high risk, high reward to “bridging the gap” under Director Tony Tether’s leadership since 2001. This week the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) held a breakfast with Dr. Erica Fuchs of Carnegie Mellon University who discussed research she had done regarding DARPA’s research agenda.
Dr. Fuchs began by talking about her original research in optoelectronics and how she started looking into DARPA as a technology innovator. She went through the history of DARPA and talked about the basic model of DARPA – brainstorm a new idea/direction, gain momentum around the idea, build a community, validate the idea with funding from other agencies or industry, and then let others take over the technology as DARPA was not meant to sustain technologies. Dr. Fuchs discussed the change under Tether to 12-18 month reviews with go/no go decisions and that universities are often shut out of the research or must partner with industry to get involved. Dr. Fuchs ended with the shift from “Old DARPA” with high risk, high reward, open ended research mostly at universities to the “New DARPA” characterized by “Bridging the Gap” and coordinating the commercialization of research and asked who is/will fund the earliest basic research at universities going forward?
Unfortunately, Dr. Fuchs’ slides are not posted online at this time. If they become available, we will add a link to the post.