March 4, 2011 4:00 AM PST
In clean energy R&D, a spark--but then what?
by Martin LaMonica
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.--Although its short-term funding remains uncertain, the 2-year-old Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program has so far delivered on its mission to pursue high-risk, high-payoff research.
But even at this week's ARPA-E Summit, a conference to tout potential game-changers, there were reminders that even great technology doesn't guarantee commercial success, which could be crucial when questions over government R&D funding arise in the future.
In interviews at the conference, entrepreneurs and investors said that ARPA-E has brought high-caliber scientists to the Department of Energy to vet well chosen research proposals. "It's not your father's DOE," joked one successful scientist.
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