WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR BASE, Ohio – Everyone has ideas. Many people have come up with an idea for a new product or a new technology and then reject or neglect it. Sometimes we find later that others had the same idea but were able to pitch it to the right people, resulting in their product to market, not ours.
Ideas are relatively easy to come by; inventions and innovations are more difficult. It takes knowledge, time, money, and effort to refine an idea into a workable solution, even on paper. There are formidable tasks and substantial obstacles in the path of those seeking innovation. Accomplishing these tasks and overcoming obstacles usually requires careful planning and the input of others.
The Air Force Department recognizes that innovative ideas often come from small businesses, industry, academia, or even a project in your neighbor’s garage that can help with issues identified by the Department. In April 2019, the Air Force announced its Science and Technology 2030 Strategy, which paves the way for the US Air Force’s science and technology ecosystem to rapidly develop combat capabilities. By expanding and strengthening our partnerships and leveraging innovation networks within industry, small businesses, universities and government labs, the Department is committed to providing an efficient connection service that will ensure that more external innovations have a transformational impact on the Air Force and Space Force. On behalf of the Department, as a laboratory supporting two services, the Air Force Research Laboratory has developed the science and technology (S&T) gateway to the Air and Space Forces, to connect potential partners with S&T experts and opportunities.
Partnering or connecting with science and technology company DAF can be difficult due to its structure and various engagement platforms. The Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect website was designed to help solve this problem and support awareness, learning, engagement, and submission of unsolicited ideas to the S&T ecosystem. The website provides access to current S&T opportunities, S&T events and other S&T enterprise connectors. It also provides innovators with a portal where they can share their ideas and capabilities with an AFRL subject matter expert for feedback, collaborations and potential opportunities. With a national reach to invite and nurture breakthrough ideas and technologies that could come from anywhere and anyone who can ultimately benefit the fighter, S&T Front Door’s long-term goal is to expand the involvement of the science and technology ecosystem beyond AFRL to include more mission-aligned organizations and organizations in the Department of Defense’s broader science and technology network.
Another partner S&T entity, and also part of the AFRL team, AFWERX develops technology, talent and transition partnerships for fast and affordable commercial and military capabilities through three efforts: AFVentures, Spark and Prime. AFVentures, which is AFWERX’s business investment arm for the Air Force, creates simple pathways for business innovators and private equity investments to help the Air Force department solve The problems. Spark connects Airmen and Guardians with business innovators while Prime aims to accelerate emerging business markets through military missions and actions. Tech Connect and AFWERX are committed to exploring viable solutions and partnerships to further strengthen our air and space forces and aim to facilitate the connection of potential partners with S&T experts and opportunities.
“The national defense strategy foresees a much contested future combat with complex threats,” said Major General Heather Pringle, AFRL commander. “Competing peers are trying to overtake the United States as a science and technology superpower. The global business sector exceeds our investments in S&T and explodes with innovative technologies. Nevertheless, we remain clear on the challenges ahead. “
“With the complexity of this changing landscape, we are accelerating change in line with the responsibility of the Air Force Chief of Staff. We accept appropriate levels of risk for innovation and experimentation as requested by the chief of space operations. Above all, we recognize that technological superiority is necessary to meet these challenges. By expanding our presence and creating more visible and convenient virtual gateways, we are cultivating a global research ecosystem, from basic research to application, that accelerates the pace of technology and competition in the pursuit nimble of innovative solutions for fighters and stakeholders, ”she said.
How it works
The Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect team, currently made up of experts in the field of AFRL technology departments, the Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer, Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office program, Transformational Capabilities Office and AFWERX, reviews and links quality, relevant submissions with S&T experts and S&T opportunities. The team provides feedback and, if the submission is relevant, establishes a dialogue with interested Air Force S&T programs.
“By leveraging scientific and technological advances in government, academic and industrial laboratories, AFRL can advance innovations towards transformational impact within the Department of the Air Force. For those submitting an idea through Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect, they can expect confirmation that their idea has been received by AFRL and that feedback on their idea will be provided by a subject matter expert from the Department of ‘Air Force in a timely manner. way, ”said Elizabeth Escamilla, Head of Science & Technology Front Door.
If you are an innovator with promising ideas and want to collaborate with the Air Force Department on S&T innovation and development, then the Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect team wants to hear from you! To share your ideas, search for the light bulb icon at afresearchlab.com or afrl.af.mil.