Want a glimpse into the future of science?
Check out the application areas for the young faculty awards at the Defense Department’s crazy research arm.
The Pentagon’s advanced research arm is always dreaming up crazy, futuristic technologies that will shape the future of the military and society. DARPA was involved in early Internet development, and these days the agency works on everything from drone-slaying lasers to humanoid robots that could save your life.
Every year, DARPA gives out young faculty awards aimed at recruiting the “rising star” researchers in academia to devote their brains to the military’s technological needs. “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,” this year’s grant program announcement reads.
The agency doesn’t want these young geniuses to work on just anything, though. DARPA is seeking applications in 18 topic areas, offering some insight into the agency’s priorities and interests. Here are a couple of topics we found particularly intriguing:
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The “Neurobiological Mechanisms of Social Media Processing” topic area seeks researchers to investigate how the use of social media tools affects people’s underlying thoughts and behaviors, such as their levels of empathy and social cognition.
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The “Next Generation Neural Sensing for Brain-Machine Interfaces” topic area seeks improvements upon the outdated methods of implanting sensors into the brain to sense neural activity.