“The CEO of my company asked if he hadn’t given me a big enough sandbox to play in. I told him ARPA-E offered me a beach.” 

- Current Program Director, on joining ARPA-E

Program Directors are thought leaders with backgrounds in fields of science and engineering that are relevant to advanced energy technology. Individuals with experience from academic labs, corporate R&D, program management, startups, and the public sector join ARPA-E to lead programs from ideation through development to project management. 

What makes a successful Program Director? 

Successful program directors display a willingness to dive deeply into technical areas that might be outside of their immediate areas of expertise. They relish forming, leading, and working closely with project teams to solve daunting technical problems. Finally, ARPA-E program directors are powerful advocates for disruptive change in energy technology who actively communicate new ideas to a wide range of stakeholders.

What do Program Directors do? 

ARPA-E’s creative and technically skilled Program Directors have a passion for changing the world of energy technology combined with the ability to do so. Program Directors join as experienced professionals who leverage their deep technical knowledge, desire for direct impact, and passion for energy technologies to drive the creation of new programs in focused subject areas and successfully manage a portfolio of sophisticated R&D projects. During their tenure, ARPA-E Program Directors influence the direction of American energy innovation by: 

 Identifying technology “white space” where ARPA-E funding can have maximum impact.
 Working with R&D communities and stakeholders to develop a concept for a focused technology program.
 Establishing rigorous and aggressive goals for the program including detailed technical milestones and other program activities.
 Evaluating proposals and recommending projects for award selection in focused technology and open programs.
 Actively managing a portfolio of cutting edge R&D projects.
 Engaging as a thought leader with world-class researchers in academia and industry, entrepreneurs, and government officials.

ARPA-E provides Program Directors with: 

 Exposure to and a deep of understanding of innovative technologies spanning energy efficiency, efficient manufacturing, and clean energy, among others. 
 Engagement with leading technical experts and innovators.
 Contextualization of technical innovation within a highly market-driven economy.
 Unparalleled freedom to design new technical initiatives.

Learn more about all of the ARPA-E programs.  

Meet a Program Director

 Behind the Scenes with ARPA-E Program Directors 

 Q&A with NODES Program Director Sonja Glavaski 

 Behind the Scenes with Dr. Chris Atkinson, Program Director at ARPA-E