Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) and the Engineering Research Centers (Chapter 5). While other federal agencies have additional examples of collaborative models, the steering committee felt these three government entities provided good synergy with NASA’s direction and programs and fit within the time frame of the workshop. The DOD and DARPA collaborative models are very much government-mission-oriented, while the NSF models are more generic in their support of science, research, and technology. The three sections below set forth the main points from each discussion. Each set of relationships is discussed in further detail in the chapters that follow. The committee chose to present the material in the order of discussion at the workshop.1

DARPA RELATIONSHIPS

The two workshop panelists provided insight into the relationships developed between government and industry during the phased competition of the UCAV program at DARPA. Topics of interest included the use of government prizes to spur technology development, Other Transaction Authority (OTA) mechanisms, the attributes of DARPA’s organizational structure, and DARPA’s focus on satisfactory program progress.

DARPA was described by one panelist, Steve Welby, Deputy Office Director at DARPA, as having a unique mission—the pursuit of revolutionary, high-payoff research and development that bridges the gap between fundamental discovery and eventual military use. He mentioned three key organizing principles that affect DARPA’s mechanisms of collaboration: (1) it is a small, flexible, and flat organization, (2) it is a project-based organization, and (3) there is little permanent infrastructure. The DARPA decision-making process was described as informal and relatively flexible, using a top-down approach to problem definition and a bottom-up approach to idea generation. The agency, according to Welby, sought to attract new ideas through open competition, with the goal of maximizing innovation. All of these defining characteristics ultimately affect DARPA’s technological relationships.

The agency was also described as managing the risk of technology development, not necessarily as maturing technology. Programs are structured with inherent means for assessing progress. The agency, according to Welby, was not afraid to cancel programs, and collaborators and contractors were well aware of this attribute. DARPA also uses varied mechanisms for contracting and collaborating, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Technological prizes,

  • The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program,

  • University faculty as program managers,

  • University contracts and grants; and

  • Large system demonstration contracts with industry.

1  

Workshop presentations can be found online at <www.nas.edu/aseb/Space_Tech_workshops.html>. Accessed December 15, 2004.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement