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 and requested an early assessment following 6 years of operation to examine the agency’s progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals. This report documents the results of that assessment. It includes both an operational assessment of the agency’s funding programs and a technical assessment of its awards, to the extent possible.
Table of Contents
|2 Overview of ARPA-E||21-46|
|3 ARPA-E's Internal Operations: Culture, People, and Processes||47-90|
|4 Technical Assessment||91-136|
|Appendix A: Committee Member Biographies||149-158|
|Appendix B: Disclosure of Conflict of Interest||159-160|
|Appendix C: Methods Used to Assess ARPA-E||161-182|
|Appendix D: Case Studies Used to Assess ARPA-E's Operations and Potential to Achieve Energy Impacts||183-240|
|Appendix E: Glossary of Abbreviations and Acronyms||241-244|
|Appendix F: Request for Data from ARPA-E, Input from Other Offices at the Department of Energy, and Agendas for Committee's Public Information Gathering Sessions||245-260|
|Appendix G: Consultants' Reports of Data Analysis||261-262|
Committee members provide overview of committee process and report's findings and recommendations, and offer a retrospective, technical, and operational assessment of ARPA-E. A public Q&A session follows.
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