OK, this one totally slipped me up. Did you know that there is an ARPA-E (as in Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy)? I confess myself in the dark. But I'm intrigued, when you consider that the program (signed into law in August 2007) is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), yes, the place from whence the Internet emerged.
So the reason this came to my attention is that Dr. Jane Alexander, who used to be a director at both DARPA and the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, has been appointed to advise the the next government administration on how to get ARPA-E rolling. That project falls under the auspices of Clean Air-Cool Planet a non-profit (and non-partisan) organization in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Alexander's job is to assemble experts who can advise the government on the appropriate role of ARPA-E in energy research and create a set of specific recommendations on how the program should be staffed and structured. It is this group's job, also, to evangelize the effort within Congress and the business community.
Dr. Alexander already has a ton of kudos populating her bio. She holds a doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1998, she received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service and, in 2001, she received the Department of Defense Distinguished Medal for Civilian Service.
Godspeed, Dr. Alexander, we'll be watching your progress.