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Dr. Arati Prabhakar, Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
On July 30, 2012, Dr. Arati Prabhakar became the 20th Director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). She leads an organization of over 200 DARPA professionals with an annual budget of approximately $2.8 billion. DARPA has a long history of creating fundamental iconoclastic breakthroughs which have altered both military and commercial innovation. DARPA programs address enduring problems in national security by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research bridging the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military use.
Dr. Prabhakar has spent her career investing in world-class Engineers and Scientists to create new technologies and businesses. Her first service to national security started in 1986 when she joined DARPA as a Program Manager. She initiated and managed programs in advanced semiconductor technology and flexible manufacturing, as well as demonstration projects to insert new semiconductor technologies into military systems.
She then became the founding Director of DARPA’s Microelectronics Technology Office, working with a team of Program Managers whose efforts spanned these areas, as well as optoelectronics, infrared imaging, and nanoelectronics.
In 1993, President William Clinton appointed her Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where she led the 3,000-person organization in its work with companies across multiple industries.
Dr. Prabhakar moved to Silicon Valley in 1997, first as the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President at Raychem, and later Vice President and then President of Interval Research. From 2001 to 2011, she was a partner with U.S. Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm. Dr. Prabhakar identified and served as a Director for startup companies with the promise of significant growth. She worked with entrepreneurs in energy and efficiency technologies, components for consumer electronics, and semiconductor process and design technology.
Dr. Prabhakar received her Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Physics and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology. She received her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech University. She started her career as a Congressional Fellow at the Office of Technology Assessment.