Jim Gimlett

Program Manager
Defense Sciences Office of DARPA
Arlington, Virginia


Dr. Jim Gimlett joined the Defense Sciences Office of DARPA as a Program Manager in 2013. His current portfolio includes novel metrology based on quantum optics, nanoscale electro-optical-mechanical systems, and atomic and nuclear physics; next generation machine learning architectures to better model complex dynamic systems; and out-of-the-box alternative methods for addressing fast-evolving viral and other diseases.

Prior to joining DARPA, Jim served as CTO of Alternative Power Generation of Canada, and CTO and cofounder of Network Elements, Inc., a startup company that pioneered the development of high speed optical plug-and-play network modules for next generation switching platforms. He also served as member of the technical staff and manager of the Advanced Lightwave Research group at Bellcore, where he initiated leading edge high speed optoelectronic device and multiwavelength and coherent optical systems research programs. As manager of the Advanced Systems Research group at Tektronix Labs, he was principal investigator for the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense on several advanced network device development programs. Jim has led and collaborated on nuclear and particle physics programs and experiments at Caltech, Los Alamos National Labs, and the Swiss Institute for Nuclear Physics. He has served as a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, and has 8 patents and over 65 peer-reviewed papers, invited talks and conference presentations in nuclear physics, fiber optic transmission systems and high speed networking. He received a BS degree in Applied Physics and a PhD in Physics from Caltech.


I’ve experienced R&D in a variety of roles, from basic researcher, to applied and industrial researcher and manager, to cofounder and CTO of a high tech startup. I’ve served as both a performer for government agencies, and as a funder of applied research and technology development in my current role as a DARPA program manager, and have experienced the challenges of transforming ideas into reality from many sides. At DARPA we endeavor to bring together multidisciplinary groups that bridge across a variety of fields (I personally have programs that span numerous physics, biology, mathematics and information science disciplines). We cut across academic, industry and government lab boundaries to develop novel technologies to solve specific problems impacting national security. I’m passionate about my role that includes helping researchers find commercial transition paths so that their ideas and technologies can find life outside of the lab. This includes generating new SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) topics, and connecting performers with other agencies, stakeholders, venture capital and alternative funding entities, applications partners and potential customers.