Under a DARPA contract, the Rochester Institute of Technology developed the Blast Gauge, a small device worn by warfighters to measure blast exposure and cue medics for initial response. This phase of the project took just 11 months with a total development cost of approximately $1 million.
most hired using special hiring authorities on a term basis – usually of three to five years. Importantly, none of these is permanent staff – all are, in essence, temporary.7 The agency’s budget is approximately $3 billion a year. Program managers have great autonomy: they propose their programs, seek approval and funding from senior DARPA officials, write the funding solicitations, select the R&D performers, and supervise and assist these performers. A typical program will have specific
technical objectives, a budget of tens of millions of dollars, and will last three to five years. Often an individual program will fund multiple R&D projects run by different performers so as to compare and test different technical ideas. Each DARPA technology office also can fund small “seed” programs, which provide a way for program managers to generate and test new ideas. In recent years, each office also has run an annual “open” competition in which applicants can propose work in areas of technology not covered in the office’s current programs. DARPA uses a “portfolio” approach: it funds a wide range of R&D programs and often funds multiple projects within a single program. Since the focus of DARPA is high-risk programs to achieve “high payoff” results, the agency and its program managers invest in a range of promising technologies to increase the chances of success while accepting the inherent risk that some research may not succeed.