In order to continually provide our sponsors with the most advanced, effective, and proven technology solutions, Draper invests more than $25 million annually to support both internal and university-based research projects. By remaining on the forefront of technology advancements in all areas of our business, we can identify promising research early and work in conjunction with researchers to identify applications for those discoveries. Vetting and maturing technology through our Internal Research & Development (IR&D) reduces risk to sponsors.
University Research & Development (URAD)Draper sponsors 20-30 projects run by university-based professors. These projects push the state-of-the-art for future sponsor needs, and often involve a partnership between the university researcher and a Draper staff member who is interested in maturing the research discovery into an actual technology.
Seedling IR&DSeedling IR&D is intended to promote early stage concept development and innovative thinking. Seedling Principal Investigators are encouraged to take risks to explore the technical feasibility of a concept that in the long run would be of value to Draper and our sponsors. Over the years, Draper engineers have tested concepts in MEMS, bioengineering, human systems collaboration, biodegradable electronics, robust communications, image processing, navigation systems, and energy technology. Many seedlings have grown into full IR&D projects in subsequent years, and several seedlings have transitioned directly to external sponsor funding.
IR&DEach year, close to 50 projects are funded internally with the aim of maturing a promising technology and reducing the technology risks to specific sponsor needs.
Draper Corporate ThrustsCorporate Thrusts address larger corporate strategic goals, such as developing preeminence in a specific technical field or capability or developing a significant business offering for our sponsors. Corporate Thrusts are therefore larger projects (typically greater than $1 million per year) and often span several years. Current Corporate Thrusts include vanishingly small systems, and inertial systems.