When George Heilmeier was DARPA director in the mid 1970s he developed a set of pithy questions to ask research program managers when they proposed new program ideas. That set of questions has persisted, and it continues to be applied in various forms by research managers everywhere. Here is a composite rendering of the questions, along with some commentary regarding research program management.
undiminished for several decades and perhaps is accelerating because of a now-global involvement in advancing IT. Given the rapid change intrinsic to IT, the research community (in academia and in industry, especially start-up companies) serves not only as a source of solutions to the hardest problems, a source of new concepts and ideas, and a source of trained people with high levels of expertise, but also as a bellwether, in the sense that it anticipates and provides early warning of important technological changes. For software, the potential for surprise is heightened by a combination of the rapid growth of globalization, the concurrent movement up the value chain of places to which R&D has been outsourced, and the explicit investments from national governments and the European Union in advancing national technological capability. Given the role of externalities in IT economics, it is not unreasonable to expect the innovation center of gravity to change rapidly in many key areas, which could shift control in critical areas of the technology ecosystems described above. This is already happening in several areas of IT infrastructure, such as chip manufacturing. In this sense, the research community has a critical role in defense-critical areas that are experiencing rapid change. A consequence of this role is the availability of top talent to address critical software-related defense problems as they arise.
The fourth component of the academic R&D value proposition is non-appropriable invention, as described in Chapter 1. This is one of the several forms of innovation carried out by the university