I spent my summer working for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), one of major government funders of new energy innovations. I learned a lot about how the US government interacts with the green energy revolution. Now I’d like to pass on some of those insights to you. I’ll cover what an ARPA style agency is and how it fits into the landscape of government funding for innovation. I’ll dive into my time on the MARINER team and their work on seaweed bioenergy as a case study illustrating the strengths and limitations to ARAP style funding. As well as describe how I went from being the reader of giant government reports to a writer of one, and how these reports might actually influence policy. As academics we often both rely on government funding and wish to influence how that money is spent. I hope to provide a real world example of how this system works and how you might utilize and improve upon it.