Arati Prabhakar (MS '80, PhD '85) Named New Director of DARPA


Arati Prabhakar, who served from 1986-1993 at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — first as a program manager and then as founding director of the Microelectronics Technology Office — will return to DARPA July 30 to lead the agency.

DARPA is the U.S. Department of Defense agency responsible for developing new technologies for use by the military. It has a budget of about $3 billion.

Until last year, Prabhakar was a partner at U.S. Venture Partners, helping make VC investments in green-technology and other start-ups. She serves on the board of SRI International and worked for several years at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, after being named agency director in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.

The India-born woman, who came to the U.S. when she was three, first went to Washington, D.C., in 1984, on a U.S. Congressional fellowship with the Office of Technology Assessment.

She came to Silicon Valley in 1997 when she worked at Rayca, a specialty materials company, as senior vice president and chief technology officer.

The Indian American executive then joined Interval Research Corp., a laboratory for consumer technology, as vice president and then president, before joining U.S. Venture Partners.

Prabhakar chairs the Efficiency and Renewables Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Energy, is a member of the National Academies’ Science Technology and Economic Policy board, a member of the red team of DARPA’s Defense Sciences Research Council and a member of the College of Engineering’s advisory board at UC-Berkeley.

She has a B.S. in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University, and an M.S. in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology.