NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Michael Kearney

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sloan School of Management
100 Main Street, E62-463
Cambridge, MA 02142

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2018Funding Breakthrough Research: Promises and Challenges of the “ARPA Model”
with Pierre Azoulay, Erica Fuchs, Anna P. Goldstein
in Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 19, Josh Lerner and Scott Stern, editors
From its 1958 origin in defense, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) model for research funding has, in the last two decades, spread to other parts of the US federal government with the goal of developing radically new technologies. In this paper, we propose that the key elements of the ARPA model for research funding are: organizational flexibility on an administrative level, and significant authority given to program directors to design programs, select projects and actively manage projects. We identify the ARPA model’s domain as mission-oriented research on nascent S-curves within an inefficient innovation system. Finally, we describe some of the challenges to implementing the ARPA model, and we comment on the role of ARPA in the landscape of research funding approaches.
Funding Breakthrough Research: Promises and Challenges of the “ARPA Model”
with Pierre Azoulay, Erica Fuchs, Anna Goldstein: w24674
From its 1958 origin in defense, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) model for research funding has, in the last two decades, spread to other parts of the US federal government with the goal of developing radically new technologies. In this paper, we propose that the key elements of the ARPA model for research funding are: organizational flexibility on an administrative level, and significant authority given to program directors to design programs, select projects and actively manage projects. We identify the ARPA model’s domain as mission-oriented research on nascent S-curves within an inefficient innovation system. Finally, we describe some of the challenges to implementing the ARPA model, and we comment on the role of ARPA in the landscape of research funding approaches.
 
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