Young Faculty Award (YFA)

Funding Agency:
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award (YFA) program aims to identify and engage rising stars in junior faculty positions in academia and equivalent positions at non-profit research institutions and expose them to Department of Defense (DoD) and National Security challenges and needs. In particular, this YFA will provide high-impact funding to elite researchers early in their careers to develop innovative new research directions in the context of enabling transformative DoD capabilities. The long-term goal of the program is to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers in the research community who will focus a significant portion of their future careers on DoD and National Security issues. DARPA is particularly interested in identifying outstanding researchers who have previously not been performers on DARPA programs, but the program is open to all qualified applicants with innovative research ideas.

Before preparing an executive summary or proposal submission, proposers are encouraged to review the DARPA mission statement and current program descriptions at the DARPA website to familiarize themselves with examples of current DARPA investments. This is not meant as instruction to duplicate those efforts, but rather to illustrate that current programs are aimed at research that will substantially advance our capabilities in these areas. Once awards are made, each YFA performer will be assigned a DARPA Program Manager with interests closely related to their research topic. The Program Manager will act as project manager and mentor to the YFA award recipients.


  • Executive Summary Due Date: Oct. 2, 2017
  • Full Proposal Due Date: Dev. 4, 2017

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

DARPA is soliciting innovative research proposals in the areas of interest to DARPA’s six technical offices: Biological Technologies Office (BTO), Defense Sciences Office (DSO), Information Innovation Office (I2O), Microsystems Technology Office (MTO), Strategic Technology Office (STO), and Tactical Technology Office (TTO). Further detail regarding the specific technical areas of interest can be found under Section I.E “Topic Areas (TAs).” Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in science, devices, or systems. Specifically excluded is research that primarily results in evolutionary improvements to the existing state of practice.

Submissions responding to this RA should clearly describe the DoD problem being addressed, the current state-of-the-art technology, new insights to address the problem, a credible research plan and schedule, and critical, quantitative milestones to be pursued over the research period. This RA seeks grant proposals only. Submissions for any other award instrument type may be considered non-conforming with the RA and may not be reviewed.

Eligibility Requirements

Participation in the YFA program is limited to any current tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professors and to tenured Assistant or Associate Professors within three (3) years of their tenure appointment at a U.S. institution of higher education or equivalent at a U.S. non-profit science and technology research institutions. Proposals are not being sought from foreign organizations. Previous YFA recipients are not eligible to apply to this or any future YFA program. Please see Section III for more details.

There is no limit to the number of applications that can be submitted by an institution; however each submission must have a single principal investigator. Submissions to young investigator programs sponsored by other agencies are not restricted. 



Amount Description

: Each award will include a 24-month base period (a maximum of $500,000) and a 12-month option period (a maximum of $500,000).

Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Social Sciences

External Deadline

December 4, 2017