Tile Image of ARPA-E Program Directors


An ARPA-E Program Director (PD) holds a unique position in a unique organization. PDs are the driving force behind ARPA-E’s mission and are empowered to identify, define, and recommend the most impactful energy R&D to be funded by the agency. The PD role celebrates intellectual curiosity and independence, constant learning, deep technical knowledge, and the willingness to take risks to enable a sustainable energy future. ARPA-E is a dynamic agency in large part due to the constant influx of fresh PD talent.

Program Development

The PD develops a concept for an ARPA-E program through appropriate technical and market analysis, and engagements with the ARPA-E team and energy R&D communities. Via these engagements, the PD will refine the program concept and “pitch” it to the other PDs and agency leadership for approval. Following program approval, the PD leads the drafting of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and manages all stages of the procurement process, which includes peer review of concept papers and full applications. This culminates in the PD recommending performer awards to agency leadership.

Project Management

After project selections, a PD negotiates each project’s technical milestones.  Once awards are contracted, the PD actively manages the program and its projects, including the tech-to-market (T2M) strategy for each project. Management involves extensive, hands-on oversight of project performers, including regular site visits as required based on the needs of each project team. The PD is responsible for advising, adjusting, re‐scoping, extending, or canceling projects during the performance period. The PD’s project portfolio may also include projects in adjacent areas from other programs or inherited from departing PDs.

Other Duties

A PD carries ARPA-E’s endorsement as a thought leader both within DOE and to external R&D communities. A PD develops best practices as part of continually improving how ARPA-E does business. A PD also evaluates new PD candidates, leads or serves on ad hoc groups as required for specific tasks, and provides peer review on program pitches by other PDs.

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