Hyperspace Challenge Announces Launch of University Research Team Accelerator Program

Program seeks academic teams developing tech that can be applied to the space domain

June 29, 2021, ALBUQUERQUE, NMHyperspace Challenge, a business accelerator run by the Air Force Research Laboratory and CNM Ingenuity for the U.S. Space Force, announced today the launch of a program to partner with university research teams in order to increase collaboration opportunities between universities and the federal government. 

The program, which will run in tandem with the 2021 Hyperspace Challenge, is seeking university research teams working with technology or towards a prototype that can be applied to or solve problems in the space domain. Applications for the program will open on July 1 and close on September 8.

University researchers will have the opportunity to learn about government missions directly from government innovators, and create their own proposals to support these missions. University teams are traditionally siloed from commercial and government innovation, leaving them with little context for how innovation is evolving in these landscapes. By getting acquainted with the federal government’s research and development initiatives to support innovation in space, they will gain greater context for developing their current research, and be able to plan research in the future that is better aligned with government needs.

Additionally, university teams will collaborate with and work alongside the startup teams participating in the 2021 Hyperspace Challenge cohort. This community will help forge relationships between researchers, government customers and commercial startups which will accelerate innovation and form the foundation of partnerships that extend beyond the program.

“Our goal for this program is to get universities acquainted with the priorities of the government,” noted Matt Fetrow, Technology Outreach Lead at the Air Force Research Laboratory. “This will get them on track for a long-term alignment with the government so they know what to work on and how to win more grants as a result.” 

University program applicants will attend webinars in August alongside commercial cohort participants to learn more about government needs and begin conceptualizing proposals for how their technology addresses those needs. In October, selected teams will meet with government customers and network with different federal agencies working in the space domain. This will all lead up to a summit in November where finalists will present their work and apply for government funding.

About Hyperspace Challenge

Hyperspace Challenge was created in 2018 by the Air Force and CNM Ingenuity, the enterprise arm of Central New Mexico Community College, to accelerate partnerships between the government and startups to shift space innovation into hyperdrive. The accelerator, which is now directed by CNM Ingenuity in conjunction with the new U.S. Space Force, runs annually, and cultivates networks in an innovation ecosystem prioritizing connection and community over bureaucracy. To date, the accelerator has supported 37 small businesses and universities from across the U.S. and abroad. More information about the university program can be found at hyperspacechallenge.com.

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