What is the DARPA Innovation Fellowship?

The DARPA Innovation Fellowship is a two-year position at DARPA for early career scientists and engineers. The fellows will develop and manage a portfolio of high-impact, exploratory efforts to identify breakthrough technologies for the Department of Defense.

Why become a DARPA Innovation Fellow?

Fellows will push the limits of existing technology through the rapid exploration of a high volume of promising new ideas focused on answering high risk/high reward “what if?” questions and assessing the impact of further investment.

Fellows will also have the opportunity to work with DARPA program managers as well as the university, industry, and non-profit performers who work on DARPA-funded research. Being a DARPA Innovation Fellow is a great way to begin a career in the sciences. DARPA Innovation Fellows will have the opportunity to make extensive connections across an extraordinarily rich, technologically-focused network. The fellowship is an in-person salaried position at DARPA in Arlington, Virginia. Fellows will be part of the Defense Sciences Office; however, the fellows will work across disciplines represented in all DARPA technical offices. More information on the office focus areas can be found at DARPA Offices.

Who may apply to become a DARPA Innovation Fellow?

Recent Ph.D. graduates (within five years of receiving a doctorate) and active-duty military with STEM degrees may apply to become a DARPA Innovation Fellow. In exceptional cases, DARPA may consider bachelor- or master’s-level candidates with STEM degrees. As DARPA is part of the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. citizenship is required for the fellowship, and selected candidates must be eligible to obtain and maintain a security clearance.

How to apply to become a DARPA Innovation Fellow?

To begin the application process, you must submit the following application materials to fellowship@darpa.mil:

  1. A cover letter describing your background and interest in the program
  2. A CV or resume

The initial class of Innovation Fellows joined DARPA in January 2023, with additional cohorts expected to start every six months. The interview process accepts applicants on a rolling basis and the application window is always open for the next cohort, so apply now!

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