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There has been substantial debate recently whether DARPA - the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - still effectively spurs U.S. technological innovation. On Tuesday, September 14, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will host Dr. Erica Fuchs of Carnegie Mellon University for a presentation on DARPA's role in U.S. technological innovation.

Dr. Fuchs will discuss the results of a new study examining the role of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) between 1992 and the present on innovation in the United States. In recent years, there has been rising concern over the ability of the United States to remain competitive in the global economy. In particular, the shift of the U.S. innovation system away from vertically integrated firms with large R&D labs, toward networked firms with interdependent technologies has created new challenges for cross-firm coordination and long-term innovation. These challenges raise important questions on the appropriate and most successful roles for federal programs within this framework.

To shed insights into these questions, Dr. Fuchs unpacks the processes by which DARPA traditionally had great success in influencing technology development, and assesses the implications of recent changes in DARPA for its effectiveness within the new innovation ecosystem. Dr. Fuchs’ study focuses on DARPA’s Microsystems Technology office, and its role in technology development in photonics, microelectronics, and other technologies supporting Moore’s Law. Drawing on in-depth field interviews of DARPA program managers, as well as additional interviews of technologists within the five established computing firms, start-ups, universities and government institutions, Dr. Fuchs provides fresh insights into the role of DARPA, how that role can be improved, and what the implications are for federal innovation policy.

All are invited to attend to this public Breakfast Forum at ITIF's offices at 1250 Eye Street NW, Suite #200, in Washington, D.C. from 9:00am to 10:30am on Tuesday, October 14. After the event, we'll share presentation slides and a link to video of the presentation through this blog.

- Rob Atkinson, ITIF