AFWERX Fellowship

AFWERX Fellowship

Fellow requirements
  • Ability to work virtually - Fellowship is 100% remote
  • Be motivated and a self-starter, possess great communication skills, have a passion for innovation, and a desire to create change to further advance the capabilities of the USAF and USSF.
Additional details
  • All AFSCs and career fields accepted
  • A month before start of Fellowship will require some mandatory onboarding/familiarization activities
  • A Memorandum of Agreement between your organization and AFWERX. *MOA is required once you are selected
  • Any TDY required during the Fellowship will be paid for by AFWERX
Important dates
  • Sage Fellowship
    • Program 1 Nov - 10 Feb
    • Please Check Back Later for Information About Our 2023 Cohorts
  • Traditional Fellowship
    • Program 28 Nov - 1 Apr
    • Please Check Back Later for Information About Our 2023 Cohorts

AFWERX is proud to announce two distinct fellowship tracks: Sage and Traditional. While each experience is unique, both are designed to broaden innovation perspectives, cultivate a deep understanding of current industry trends, and expose participants to programs that have DAF level impact. They will learn how to build and utilize the DAF innovation ecosystem to propel projects forward, and will also undergo a professional development curriculum, designed to expand every fellow’s skill set, while refining their general project management acumen. All members will cross collaborate between other fellows and full-time AFWERX employees. This provides a large network of perspectives and resources for fellows to learn about cutting edge technologies and innovative corporate culture methodologies.


(Shared Awareness Through Guided Empowerment)

Fellows will start around 1 November for the Fall Cohort and serve as the primary point of contact for civilian businesses who have been awarded a Phase I SBIR contract. During this opportunity, participants will assist businesses as they navigate the DAF and help facilitate their customer discovery. Sage Fellows will be accepted on a rolling basis and notified of their selection status within 3-5 duty days. They are strongly encouraged to apply as full-time Fellows. However, part-time applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Traditional Fellows

Traditional Fellows begin on 28 November and serve in a full-time or part-time role within AFWERX. Fellows will initially be assigned to Ventures, Spark, Prime, or Space for projects and assignments, with the opportunity to pursue additional projects at several points throughout the cohort. The purpose of this fellowship is to explore and absorb as much information and experience as possible.

The Fellowship was created to contribute to the development of innovative airmen/guardians by embedding them into AFWERX. The Fellowship relies heavily on EXPERIENTIAL training, so you will be virtually-tied to one of our teams: AFVentures, Prime, Spark, or SpaceWERX.

During this four-month fellowship you may support a range of projects: MAJCOM outreach, work efforts to incubate, accelerate and transition airmen/guardian ideas, design innovation training or participate in a SBIR/STTR sprint.

The AFWERX Fellowship is one small step in execution of the CSAF’s vision “ prioritize speed of delivery and foster a culture of courageous problem-solvers.” Join us and share your expertise, as we explore and develop solutions to USAF and USSF challenges.

The division that empowers innovators and accelerates results through programs that connect, develop and support Airmen and Guardian innovators - e.g. base-level Spark Cells, MAJCOM Innovation Cells, Industry Colliders, Internships, Fellowships, Innovation Training, Spark Tank, Spark Incubator and more!

The division that creates simple pathways for commercial innovators and private capital investment to help solve problems for the Department of the Air Force.

The division developing technology marketplaces, helping identify new prime technology sectors in the commercial space, energy, autonomy, analytics and wargaming, supersonics, microelectronics, etc.

Agility Prime is the division expanding technology paths to accelerate emerging dual-use markets by leveraging government resources for rapid and affordable fielding.

The division that inspires and empowers collaboration with innovators to accelerate capabilities and shape our future in space.


The preference is for 40hrs/week, however, AFWRERX can accommodate part-time participation of at least 20hrs/week.
No, the owning unit for the applicant must provide the man-days for participation.

It is imperative that you get permission from your Commander to participate.  The application will ask you if you talked to your supervisor and you will need to provide their name and contact information and you will be required in the application to state if selected, your supervisor will be required to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).  

No, this is a virtual fellowship. However, there could be an occasional TDY to participate in AFWERX events, and the cost will be covered by AFWERX.
Embed with your AFWERX team. Participate in training, workshops and feedback sessions as scheduled. Complete monthly surveys used to improve program. Have fun, think big and network!
The experiential training will give you insight into AFWERX innovation processes and tools. In addition, you will develop your network of like-minded intrapreneurs. You'll return to your organization able to help drive innovation to solve unit issues.
You will select the team you wish to work with. If selected that team leader will work with you to develop your assignment. In some cases you may be offered an assignment on another team and decide if that is something you would like to do.

Defense Ventures Fellowship

Technology can change anything. Even how we protect our country. Immerse in leading technology firms to bring innovative solutions back to the Department of Defense.

This fellowship provides opportunities for the U.S. Armed Services to create impactful solutions for the Department of Defense (DoD) through an immersive educational experience with the private sector. Fellows spend eight weeks developing an understanding of the venture capital and tech startup industry with some of the world’s most advanced companies.

Target Audience
  • Employees of the DoD (active duty, guard & reserve, civilian)
  • Three years of professional work experience preferred
  • Must be available for a full-time commitment to the program (CDR approval required if selected)
  • Fellowships will be virtual until in-person is safe.
Apply Now!
2022 Important dates
  • Session 2 - Session 4

Dates to be released.

Get your seat at the table in the right room. AFVentures Fellowship is a partnership with Shift to deliver an industry immersion program that selects innovative officers, enlisted, and civilians in the midst of their careers to join venture capital and technology companies across the US for eight weeks to bring the latest commercial tech trends and innovation back to the Department of Defense.

The application is open to all employees of the Department of Defense- any rank, any MOC, any service. If you are selected for a program, you will be required to submit an endorsement letter from your commander or supervisor granting you permission to participate in the fellowship during the full time immersion dates specified. If you are a member of the National Guard or Reserve, you will need to be placed on active duty status for the duration of the program. All applicants must have at minimum 18 months from separation to be considered.

Those who meet the criteria below:

  • Employees of the DoD (active duty, guard & reserve, civilian)

  • Three years of professional work experience preferred

  • Must be available for a full-time commitment to the program (CDR approval required if selected)

  • Fellowships will be virtual until in-person is safe.

The program is currently virtual, but we expect that some of the participating companies will be returning to offices. If you are selected to participate in-person, your home unit/organization will need to cover the TDY funds for the 6 weeks you will be embedded in the company (which could be at locations across the United States, often San Francisco, DC, NYC, Austin, Boston, Los Angeles). We also expect to have virtual versions of the program (some companies are now virtual) as well as hybrid options (where you would spend some time on site during the program). *There will be virtual tasks prior to the fellowship and after the fellowship that will help participants get the most from the experience.
Once Fellows are selected, they will be placed into a venture capital firm or technology startup. Fellows will be required to participate in the immersion full time, complete a capstone project for your host company, and complete an innovation manifesto for AFWERX to capture the learnings, insights, and opportunities you drew from the program. Additionally, we are looking for participants who will be good representatives of the Department of Defense and use this experience to help the Air Force grow its capabilities and credibility in non-traditional places.
We expect to select Fellows for the February cohort in the beginning of January 2022.

● An updated resume 

● Your last last two performance appraisals (2020-2021, with any PII masked) 

● Completed essay questions (500 words max per question).

● Two References If you are selected, you will need to confirm your participation by requesting additional materials and having your commander or supervisor sign an endorsement verifying your full time participation for the duration of the Fellowship.

For a list of required materials needed for application, click here.

USAF Space Force AFRL and AFWERX Logo Block