act iac igniting innovation awards

DARPA scouting for ‘revolutionary’ ideas

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking for “revolutionary” research ideas that aren’t being addressed in current research projects.

The broad agency announcement issued by DARPA’s Information Innovation Office (I2O) outlined its existing programs that fall into four main areas:

  • Proficient artificial intelligence
  • Advantage in cyber operations
  • Confidence in information domain
  • Resilient, adaptable and secure systems

Now DARPA wants potential respondents to look at I2O’s current programs and suggest something completely different.

“I2O seeks unconventional software-based approaches that are outside the mainstream, challenge accepted assumptions and have the potential to radically change established practice,” the agency wrote in its BAA.

Efforts that are creative and agile both in terms of the technologies proposed and in the structure of the approach are encouraged, but  DARPA warns against proposing work that has already been completed or funded by the agency or anyone else in the government.

Funding levels haven’t been determined yet. Proposals will be evaluated for overall scientific and technical merit, potential contribution and relevance to DARPA’s mission and cost.

DARPA has given respondents plenty of runway to work with. Abstracts are due Sept. 23, 2021. Proposals are due at noon on Oct. 28, 2021.

Current I2O programs can be found here.

This article was first posted to Washington Technology, a sibling site to GCN.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.


  • business meeting (Monkey Business Images/

    Civic tech volunteers help states with legacy systems

    As COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in state and local government IT systems, the newly formed U.S. Digital Response stepped in to help. Its successes offer insight into existing barriers and the future of the civic tech movement.

  • data analytics (

    More visible data helps drive DOD decision-making

    CDOs in the Defense Department are opening up their data to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that help surface insights and improve decision-making.

Stay Connected