In the past five years AFWERX has grown exponentially. With any new rapidly growing program, it can be difficult to keep up with and understand all that the program has to offer. Many individuals interested in participating in AFWERX struggle to understand where to start, who to talk to, how to initiate and execute certain processes, and what happens to those processes behind the scenes at AFWERX.
The best way for units to contribute to and use the benefits of AFWERX is to participate in the AFWERX Fellowship program. This fellowship was created to immerse individuals in AWERX processes and procedures. The AFWERX Fellowship aims to train participants to be more knowledgeable and effective in utilizing the opportunities that AFWERX has to offer and to more efficiently bring challenges and solutions to the Air Force’s innovation initiatives.
The fellowship is available to all employees of the United States Air Force and Space Force including active duty, guard, reserve, and government civilians. This opportunity is completely virtual for eight weeks. Although the preference is for participants to work 40 hours per week, AFWERX can accommodate work of at least 20 hours per week.
Participants may support anything from MAJCOM outreach, work efforts to incubate, accelerate and transition airmen/guardian ideas, design innovation training, or participate in a SBIR/STTR sprint.
The fellowship is able to provide a range of education and opportunity for participants through experience by embedding into one of its four teams. AFWERX four divisions include:
- Spark is the division of AFWERX that empowers innovators and accelerates results through programs that connect, develop and support Airmen and Guardian innovators. It is responsible for the overseeing of base-level Spark Cells, MAJCOM Innovation Cells, Industry Colliders, Internships, Fellowships, Innovation Training, Spark Tank, and Spark Incubator.
- AFVentures creates simple pathways for commercial innovators and private capital investment to help solve problems for the Department of the Air Force.
- Prime focuses on developing technology marketplaces and helping identify new prime technology sectors in the commercial space, energy, autonomy, analytics and wargaming, supersonics, microelectronics, etc.
- Agility Prime is the division of Prime expanding technology paths to accelerate emerging dual-use markets by leveraging government resources for rapid and affordable fielding.
- SpaceWERX mission is to inspire and empower collaboration with innovators to accelerate capabilities and shape the military’s future in space.
Given the importance of each division, some participants may choose to take part in multiple cohorts to maximize their ability to function as a conduit for innovation in their unit and community. This fellowship creates individuals designed and equipped to “prioritize speed of delivery and foster a culture of courageous problem-solvers.”
- Air Force and Space Force Employees: To find out more about AFWERX Fellowships or to apply, check out the AFWERX Fellowship website for the next cohort application to be posted.
- Wisconsin Innovators and Partners: Engage with the units in your area to advocate for their employees to be sent to the AFWERX Fellowship to increase innovation in your community.