Spurring Projects to Advance energy Research and Knowledge Swiftly
The SPARKS program—short for Spurring Projects to Advance energy Research and Knowledge Swiftly—provides a rolling opportunity for the rapid support of early-stage applied research to explore innovative new concepts with the potential for transformational and disruptive changes in energy technology. SPARKS awards are intended to be flexible and may take the form of analyses or exploratory research that provides ARPA-E with useful information for the subsequent development of focused technology programs. Awards under the SPARKS program may also support proof-of-concept research to develop a unique technology concept, either in an area not currently supported by the agency or as a potential enhancement to an ongoing focused technology program. The broad objective of SPARKS is to identify disruptive concepts in energy-related technologies that challenge the status quo and represent a leap beyond today’s technologies. An innovative concept alone is not enough; the idea must also have the potential to be impactful—meaning that, if successful, it represents a fundamentally new paradigm in energy technology with the potential to make a significant impact on ARPA-E’s mission areas.
Being able to act quickly and fund the most cutting-edge ideas is at the core of ARPA-E’s mission, and SPARKS is another example of ARPA-E continuing to adapt its model to leverage new scientific discoveries and market developments. SPARKS will enable ARPA-E to support exceptionally promising and innovative early-stage applied research.