ARPA-E: The Little Program That Could

October 1, 2010

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or simply ARPA-E, was created in 2007 to spur innovation in new groundbreaking technologies to set the United States apart from the rest of the world as a leader in the new clean energy economy. It is modeled after DARPA, the defense research agency responsible for the internet, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and unmanned aerial vehicles. DARPA did all of this with a small, rotating staff of experts and minimal funding. ARPA-E has assembled a similarly nimble team of scientists, engineers, and innovators to make a big impact with a small budget. But instead of being hailed, ARPA-E is about to be given the bureaucratic equivalent of a death sentence.