DARPA Launches Social Media Platform to Accelerate R&D


DARPA aims to apply the power of social networks to research and development via a novel social media platform purpose-built to quicken the pace of U.S. technology development. Polyplexus, which was recently launched as a public platform, is designed to increase access to scientific evidence and accelerate hypothesis development, research proposal generation, and research sponsor engagement. The platform’s real-time interactions and functionality are designed to dramatically shorten the time between the emergence of concepts and the submission of worthy proposals.

The platform facilitates connections among experts across academic disciplines so they can propel novel research opportunities together. Beta-launched for academics only in 2018, Polyplexus is now open to the broader research and development community and features an initial offering of research topics for collaboration and potential funding. DARPA seeks participation from anyone who is interested in sharing and learning about emerging science and technology including researchers, practitioners, and even retirees.

Polyplexus is composed of three integrated components: a public information feed where users can promote interesting research and connect it to other research via tweet-like summary statements called micropubs; a private tool for synthesizing new ideas, known as micropub portfolios; and an incubator environment. Incubators allow research sponsors in government and industry to post specific topics of interest and find research and development specialists to address their challenges.

Following a 2018 test phase that was restricted to academic researchers, Version 1 of Polyplexus is now open to the public. Researchers and research sponsors across disciplines and industries are invited to sign up and become “Plexors” at https://polyplexus.com/users/login

With the public launch of Polyplexus, DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office intends to fund up to 30 one-year seedling efforts developed through Polyplexus incubators over the next 18 months. These funding opportunities are capped at a maximum of $100,000 each. They will roll out at a pace of approximately two per month.

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