It’s worth noting the ARPA-E has a big shindig coming March 1-3 in Washington, DC. Billed as the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, the event sounds like it’s something of a coming out party for ARPA-E in the sense that it is clearly being designed to leave an imprint on not only the R&D community but also on the media and policy makers.
One component is a big “hey, look at what we are already working on,” type of program. On March 1, there will be a pre-summit “Transformative Technology Showcase” that I think has been described as poster session featuring projects ARPA-E is already backing.
Another pre-summit event is a “Partner with ARPA-E” workshop where participants can meet ARPA-E’s Program Directors, discuss the goals and directions for ARPA-E’s program areas.
The main summit has a lot of big name speakers, including Jeffrey Immelt (GE), Desh Deshpande (Sycamore Networks), Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures), James Woolsey (ex-CIA director, now with Vantage Point Venture Partners and pundit Tom Friedman (expert at jumping on whatever the latest bandwagon is, but fashionably late).
Overall, it’s a good thing ARPA-E is doing this, especially for the public. The project is flying under the radar of 99.9% of population. There are some really interesting things they are working on that can and will be exciting once there is some publicity about, and hopefully some of this could eventual translate into expanded STEM education interest and programming.