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National Security Innovation Network
Monday, Sept. 20, 2021
Reading time: 3 minutes


The NSIN AI for Command Challenge, presented in partnership with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), concluded with Gradient J taking the $100,000 grand prize for its artificial intelligence (AI) solution. The five finalist teams may each be eligible for a $750,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award supporting their proposals through a memorandum of understanding opportunity.


SEPT. 23, 2021

EVENT: The virtual NSIN Propel Demo Day will showcase dual-use technologies such as sensors, 5G, and automation, created by the 12 companies participating in the inaugural Propel cohort. The event, hosted by our partners at Decisive Point and Newlab, will include demonstrations followed by a Q&A from each of the companies. Join us from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT on Sept. 23.


SEPT. 28 - 29, 2021

EVENT: Learn how entrepreneurs, government, and industry can work together to solve DoD problems and ignite new opportunities within the defense community. The NSIN track will feature virtual conversations with NSIN’s experts and program alumni.


EVENT: Can you innovate the Massachusetts National Guard (MANG)? Join the 2021 Patriot Pitch challenge and submit a minimum one-page summary describing the problem and its solution by Oct. 1. For inspiration, view the finalists from last year’s Patriot Pitch challenge. Must join the NSIN UNUM Platform to participate. 


NEWS: The xView3 Challenge prize competition seeks to identify the best computer vision algorithms to advance the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The challenge, sponsored by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and Global Fishing Watch (GFW), calls developers to harness satellite-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to detect dark vessels.

NEWS: A new federal register notice requests comments and information from small businesses to identify barriers facing small businesses in contracting with the Department of Defense (DoD). This information will help the DoD leverage the capabilities of small businesses to increase competition, strengthen domestic supply chains, and support equity and inclusion in defense procurements. The comment period closes on Oct. 25.

SEPT. 21 - 24, 2021

EVENT: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently launched the Environmental Microbes as a BioEngineering Resource (EMBER) program to secure America's rare earth elements supply chain through bio-mining. Watch ten finalists compete for up to $5 million in funding in the DARPA Subterranean (SubT) Challenge using novel bio-mining approaches to rapidly map, navigate, and search underground environments during time-sensitive combat operations. The event runs Sept. 21-24.

SEPT. 22, 2021

EVENT: Attend Kessel Run Engagement Day to learn more about the software development and acquisition unit for the U.S. Air Force, and discover how Kessel Run’s innovative platform can deliver cloud-based infrastructure and software solutions for your organization. Space is limited, so register today to attend the event at 2 p.m. EDT on Sept. 22.

SEPT. 22, 2021

EVENT: HBCU Week encourages high-school-aged youth to enroll in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), provides scholarships, and sustains a pipeline for employment from college graduation to career application. Students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees can apply to receive a scholarship up to $10,000.

SEPT. 26 - OCT. 3, 2021

EVENT: Innovators in undersea technology and offshore wind can apply for this 8-week accelerator program to develop their relationships and capabilities with defense partners. The program will leverage MassChallenge’s proven methodology in startup acceleration and 401 Tech Bridge’s network to spur growth for 10 technology-focused startups. Applications are open now and close Sept. 28.


Companies with experience in technology that improves decision making of remote teams can apply to present their solutions to the Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO), on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory, Transformational Capabilities Office (AFRL/TCO), for a chance to be selected for pilot projects or experimentation. Companies must apply for one of the following categories: human-human teaming, AI-enabled planning, or workflow models and automated systems deployment. Submissions are due by 5 p.m. EDT Sept. 21.
Companies with winning solutions for lightweight, portable, and long-duration power sources that can support propulsion and on-station power for sensing and communication on small and medium-sized spacecraft may be selected for a Prototype Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) and may be invited to submit a full proposal. Competitive proposals must show credible manufacturing, regulatory, and licensing paths toward prototype development within three to five years and a follow-on path to flight-based testing. Applications are due to the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sept. 23.
Share your ideas to innovate the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force for a chance to pitch your solution to Department of the Air Force leadership and a panel of industry experts at the 2022 Air Force Association’s Warfare Symposium. Service members will receive education materials to develop their ideas as well as advice from previous Spark Tank participants. Submissions are due Oct. 1.
Follow the NSIN funding opportunities blog to identify more funding across the defense innovation space. 
Access the power of NSIN to tackle the toughest DoD challenges. Complete the problem intake form below and discover our network of problem solvers.
NSIN Problem Intake Form
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The National Security Innovation Network is a program of the U.S. Department of Defense that collaborates with major universities and the venture community to develop solutions that drive national security innovation. We operate three portfolios of programs and services: National Service, Collaboration, and Acceleration. Together, these portfolios form a pipeline of activities and solutions that accelerate the pace of defense innovation.  
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