[hackerspaces] DARPA Selects Hackerspace Space Program for contract negotiation

Matthew Dumas matthew.dumas at ripplecomputing.com
Wed Apr 4 02:21:30 CEST 2012

I have worked rather extensively with government grants in the past. What
this Hackerspace Space Program submitted to was a DoD Broad Agency
Announcement for a Rapid Innovation Fund grant.

Typically, the way an RIF works is that you submit some idea or technology
to a broad topic announcement. You then get a first round review, which may
result in an invitation to make a full grant proposal. The proposal you put
in details your exact plan to implement a solution to the problem statement
in the topic. The government can invite any number of participants to put a
proposal in. Eventually, they eliminate most, if not all, of the proposals.
If there are any left after elimination, the government gets in contact
with the point of contact and hashes out terms of the contract.

This money is for rapid development from concept to prototype. In exchange
for this funding, the government gets priority in ordering whatever you've
created. You own all of the IP and can do whatever you like with it after
you give your final report to the government. This fund was created to help
small businesses get a foot-hold in high-tech and government sectors.

Other similar programs are the SBIR and STTR programs. If you want to read
more about the RIF, go here:

This is just a quick overview, it is important to note that each branch of
the government has their own stipulations, but primarily, the selected
proposals fill a Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON). There are very few
strings attached, aside from government priority and government oversight.
In addition, the winner of one of these grants is *NOT* guaranteed **a
contract providing said services or widgets, and will still have to
commercialize the technology in order to make money from it.

I think that hits most of the important points, but I'm sure someone will
be here to point out any mistakes/missing info that might be in there.
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