THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCES, ENGINEERING, AND MEDICINE
Policy and Global Affairs
Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
Board and Energy and Environmental Systems
Committee on Evaluation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)
An Assessment of ARPA-E
In 2005, the National Research Council report Rising Above the Gathering Storm recommended a new way for the federal government to spur technological breakthroughs in the energy sector. It recommended the creation of a new agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, as an adaptation of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) model—widely considered a successful experiment that has funded out-of-the-box, transformative research and engineering that made possible the Internet, GPS, and stealth aircraft. This new agency was envisioned as a means of tackling the nation’s energy challenges in a way that could translate basic research into technological breakthroughs while also addressing economic, environmental, and security issues.
Congress authorized ARPA-E in the 2007 America COMPETES Act, P.L. 110-69
, and requested an early assessment to examine the agency’s progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals. This report documents the results of that evaluation. It includes both an operational assessment of the agency’s funding programs and a technical assessment of its awards, to the extent possible.