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Inaugural University Day connects Academia, AFRL

The Doolittle Institute hosted its first virtual event to support the Air Force Research Lab Munitions Directorate (AFRL/RW) in fostering new relationships with talented–yet previously untapped–universities.

The Doolittle Institute initially placed a call for abstracts in four topic areas: Extreme Environments, Active Imaging, Nano-photonics, and Vibrations. Twenty-four universities from 18 states submitted over 50 abstracts, prompting expansion to a fifth topic area, Plasmonics. The Doolittle Institute worked closely with AFLR/RW to select the final 15 abstracts. Agility was critical to this event, from adding additional topics to pivoting to a virtual event amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Air Force 2030 Science & Technology Strategy (2030 S&T) sought to significantly expand competition for and engagement of university-based Air Force research . Ultimately, ten universities were represented: the University of Central Florida, Cleveland State University, Virginia Tech, the University of Florida, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of Hawaii, Johns Hopkins University, University of New Mexico, Vanderbilt University and the University of Massachusetts.

Over 100 people registered to attend, and more than 80 people participated concurrently during University Day. Members of AFRL/RW ranked as the highest percentage of those registered. Academic researchers received 25 minutes to present their topics and field questions from participants online. Considering it a successful event, AFRL/RW made funding available for researchers whose ideas held the most potential.

The Doolittle Institute, an AFRL Innovation Institute, supports the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate by working to license and commercialize AFRL/RW technologies in the private sector, enable rapid technology delivery to the warfighter, identify and foster new R&D partnerships and develop AFRL’s current and future workforce. The Doolittle Institute is a member of the Defensewerx Family.

For more information about collaborating with AFRL, please contact the Doolittle Institute at (850) 226-4383 or contact us at

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