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DARPA Director Visits ­niversities in Bid to Re-Energize Partnerships

By The New York Times

October 7, 2009

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Regina E. Dugan, the new director of the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is visiting universities across the United States in an attempt to mend alliances that were strained under the Bush administration, which cut back on basic research funding in favor of more classified research and shorter-term projects. Peter Harsha with the Computing Research Association also notes that during the Bush administration some financing was dependent on strict adherence to U.S. citizenship requirements. DARPA officials disclosed in 2005 that financing for university researchers declined from $214 million to $123 million. Harsha says that Dugan "is attempting to empower her program managers more than under the previous regime, and that makes it more enticing for members of the academic community to engage with the agency."

Dugan says that university-based research is a key ingredient in her agency's future activities. "It is our goal to strengthen this partnership, enabling some of the best minds to serve with and in the government in the best interests of the nation and the U.S. Department of Defense," she says. Last week Dugan visited the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; the University of California, Los Angeles; and the California Institute of Technology. She previously visited Virginia Tech and Texas A&M.

"She came by Berkeley on Wednesday and had a frank chat about the past and the future, and I'm pretty encouraged," says Berkeley professor and former ACM president David Patterson. "She seems to genuinely value academic input into the defense research enterprise and really wants to re-engage the research community in the DARPA mission."

From The New York Times
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