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NEWS | Dec. 10, 2020

New AFWERX Fellowship drives innovation within the Air and Space Force

Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

AFWERX invited Airmen and Space professionals to apply for its new Fellowship program during day three of the livestreamed AFWERX Accelerate event Dec. 9.

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass emphasized the need to educate Airmen, explaining that creativity and innovativeness will help us be the Air Force our nation needs. Bass highlighted the importance of empowering Airmen and unleashing their potential.

AFWERX Fellowships involve three- to four-month assignments supporting one of the divisions in the organization, like Spark or AFVentures, working in private industry for six to eight weeks. The Spark team engages with warfighters to learn about key issues faced by end-users while the AFVentures initiative creates pathways for commercial entities and investment firms to connect ideas with resources.

“Our Airmen are just really crazy-smart and are solving problems every day,” said Lauren Barrett Knausenberger, Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Department of the Air Force. “You’re always stronger when you collaborate across organizations. We have a lot of people who like to invent things and there are so many cool things that have been invented, but the thing that you deliver is going to be much cooler if you find multiple people at different organizations that are interested in collaborating with you.

“It also takes very little time and effort by senior leaders to make an Airman feel amazing for an idea. Taking the time to say, ‘you did a great job’ – supporting an Airman’s idea – even giving a slight amount of advice or acknowledging that Airman did something incredible, even if you’re not going to use the idea, is something I think we need to do more as senior leaders because I think it really does kind of feed people’s souls and keep them moving.”

AFWERX Director Col. Nathan Diller noted the opportunity to join the AFWERX team is open to all ranks from the youngest Airmen to senior members of our enlisted and officer corps. He explained that the Fellowship aims to show talented individuals how to move from idea to capability.

Day three of the AFWERX Accelerate event also featured presentations from Airmen on using coding and prototyping to solve difficult problems.

Day four of the AFWERX Accelerate event, which begins at 12 p.m. EST, Dec. 10, will feature exciting Agility Prime news, with featured video of some of the world’s most advanced flying cars as well as the groundbreaking for new simulators, ribbon cutting for an electric aircraft charging station, and presentation of a NASA lunar landing trainer using this new technology. The second part of the day will showcase cases for electric ORBs, community acceptance, investor opinion, certification pathways, and new funding opportunities in 2021. The day will close with the introduction of new “Prime” technology sectors, leading up to the Friday announcement for this next emerging market bolstered by co-investment with AFWERX.

To register and learn more about AFWERX Accelerate, visit For the live feed of the event activities, visit or beginning at 12 p.m. EST through Dec. 11.