DARPA YFA 2021 Proposers Day
Special Notice (SN) DARPA-SN-20-63
Young Faculty Award 2021 (YFA2021) Proposers Day
September 25, 2020

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office (DSO) is sponsoring a Proposers Day webcast to provide information to potential proposers on the objectives of an anticipated Research Announcement (RA) for the Young Faculty Award Program 2021 (YFA 2021) program. The Proposers Day will be held via prerecorded webcast on September 25, 2020 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM ET. Advance registration is required for viewing the webcast. Note, all times listed in this announcement and on the registration website are Eastern Time.

The goals of the YFA 2021 Proposers Day are to: (a) introduce the research community (Academia, and Non-Profit) to the YFA 2021 program vision and goals, (b) explain the mechanics of a DARPA program and the milestones of this particular effort, and (c) encourage and promote teaming arrangements among potential organizations that have the relevant expertise, facilities, and capabilities for executing a research and development program responsive to the YFA 2021 program goals.

DARPA anticipates releasing the YFA 2021 RA in early September 2020. If released, the RA will be available on the Federal Business Opportunities website at https://www.fbo.gov and on http://www.grants.gov/. Following the event, DARPA may post the presented materials as well as a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list to the DARPA/DSO Opportunities website.


The objective of the DARPA YFA 2021 program is to identify and engage rising stars in junior research positions, emphasizing those without prior DARPA funding, and expose them to DoD needs and DARPA’s program development process In particular, 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 anticipates soliciting innovative research proposals in the areas of physical sciences, engineering, materials, mathematics, biology, computing, informatics, social science, robotics, neuroscience and manufacturing of interest to DARPA’s Technology Offices. Eligibility requirements are outlined below.


The YFA 2021 Proposers Day will be webcast on September 25, 2020 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Note, all times listed in this announcement and on the registration website are Eastern Time. There is no registration fee for the Proposers Day webcast.

Registration opens: As of publication of this announcement.

Registration closes: September 18, 2020 at 4:00 PM ET or when capacity is reached, whichever comes first.

Advance registration via this website is required in order to receive access to the webcast.

Registrants in excess of the maximum capacity limitations will be added to the waitlist. Individuals who are unable to register because the deadline has occurred or capacity has been reached will have the option to be added to the waitlist. If slots remain open after registration closes or become available due to cancellations, the slots may be filled on a first come, first served basis from the waitlist.


DARPA hosts Proposers Days to (1) provide potential proposers with information on whether and how they might respond to the Government’s research and development solicitations, (2) to increase efficiency in proposal preparation and evaluation, and (3) to assist with teaming arrangements between researchers (see note below). Therefore, Proposers Days are only open to registered potential proposers, i.e., the events are closed to the general public and media. For this particular program, Proposers Day registration is open to potential proposers who are U.S. Citizens, U.S. Permanent Residents, and Foreign Nationals.

Note: The anticipated RA will solicit single investigator proposals; however, investigators will be given the opportunity to propose teaming if required due to the nature of the proposal. Teaming and/or subcontract awards will be limited to no more than 30% of the total grant value. It is preferred that potential team members be university professors fitting the proposer eligibility requirements outlined below. Specific content, communications, networking, and team formation will be the sole responsibility of the participants.


Proposers must be one of the following (excluding any personal leaves of absence):

  • current Tenure-Track Assistant/Associate Professors;
  • current Tenured faculty within 3 years of their Tenure date; or
  • an equivalent at a non-profit research institution within 12 years of the receipt of their Ph.D.
  • All proposers must be employed at a U.S. institution.
  • Previous YFA Award recipients are not eligible for this or any future YFA program.
  • Former DARPA Program Managers are not eligible to apply for funding under this program.
  • Researchers working at Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, and Government Entities are not eligible to apply for funding under YFA.

Q & A

Administrative, technical, and contractual questions about the YFA 2021 program should be emailed to YFA2021@darpa.mil. All questions must be in English and must include the name and email address of a point of contact. Following the Proposers Day, DARPA will post an FAQ list to the DARPA/DSO Opportunities website.


Please refer to the YFA 2021 Proposers Day in all correspondence.

Technical Point of Contact: Dr. Rohith Chandrasekar, Program Manager, rohith.chandrasekar@darpa.mil


Viewing the YFA 2021 Proposers Day webcast is voluntary and is not required to propose to the anticipated YFA 2021 RA. Interested parties to this notice are cautioned that nothing herein obligates the Government to issue a solicitation. The Proposers Day does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals or abstracts. This announcement is issued solely for information and program planning purposes and is not a Request for Information (RFI). Since this is not an RFI, no submissions against this notice will be accepted by the Government. No classified, ITAR controlled, or proprietary information shall be included in submitted materials or shall be presented or discussed at the Proposers Day. DARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred to participate in this Proposers Day. Recording the Proposers Day webcast is not permitted.