Private Advanced Research Project Agency

Private Advanced Research Project Agency (PARPA) is a new type of organization that uses an unconventional institutional structure to go after potentially impactful work that is too researchy for startups, too engineering-heavy for academia, and too irresponsible for the government.

Following DARPA’s successful model, PARPA will focus on research programs run by program managers with broad power to make whatever decisions are necessary for program success. These programs will focus on goals like “build a DNA-based molecular 3D printer as a first step towards an artificial ribosome” or “build a general-purpose experimental platform for telerobotics” that require coordinating several separate research projects and potentially integrating them into a single system. The goal is to riff on the DARPA model to push more technological possibilities from “impossible” to “inevitable.”

PARPA programs will start with ~12 month “seedling projects” to test viability and proof of concept. Afterwards, high-potential programs will last 4+ years, potentially spinning off into new entities (FROs, startups, etc.) that raise their own funding.