Cultivating innovation by expanding the American research enterprise for the Department of the Air Force

A one-of-a-kind program that will play a cutting-edge role in developing the technology and practices of tomorrow, and I am proud that the nexus of these activities will be right here in the Dayton area.

 Mike Turner

 U.S. Rep. (R-Dayton)

One of the largest value-adds that APEX, and specifically our coach Rich, provided early on was detailed, weekly goals of what we needed to complete in order to be eligible for the grant. As a small company founded by students, we struggled to understand the vast array of government requirements and compliances, but Rich kept us on track and ensured we were ready by the time our grants were due. In addition to organizational help and expertise, the APEX team was vital in the production of our vital slide deck. Their team of experts helped us express our main value proposition that likely assisted us in winning the grant.

Luke Sommer

Co-Founder, EZTrain
$50,000 AFWERX 21.1 STTR Phase I

The APEX team has been phenomenal in helping us navigate the STTR process, from learning how to write a proposal to helping us find potential partners and now, teaching us how to engage with the Air Force during the post-award phase.

Atossa Alavi

Co-Founder & CEO, Immobileyes

I think the subject of my email was “Urgent! Help Needed” and APEX successfully delivered that help. There are so many unknowns in that last phase of the process… that expert guidance at critical hours… the quality and success of our proposal may not have been there if I had ventured on my own. It was APEX that helped necoTech see how our innovation fits in the military and DoD industry.

Steve Flaherty

Founder & CEO, necoTech
$500,000 AFWERX STTR Phase II

We're really good at what we do, but we were very bad at navigating this process, so, APEX walked us through it. Without APEX’s help, we wouldn’t be where we are today – with a $150,000 award to apply our technology in the defense market.

Justine Blank

Co-Founder & Vice President, Engineering Products of Ohio, LLC (EPI)
$150K Agility Prime Phase I, $750K Agility Prime Phase II

APEX helped us from beginning to end. One of the things I tell people here at the University is that if you do want to pursue one of these opportunities, you need to go through a group like APEX; it’s essentially someone guiding you and telling you the next step the whole way. The entire presence of APEX through our STTR contract solicitation process was very mentor like and exactly what we needed at that stage of our business.

Kyle Gillis

Co-Founder, IconicAir
$700,000 AFWERX STTR Phase II

Having an APEX mentor to touch base with on a regular basis helps first time and experienced small businesses navigate the Air Force requirements for SBIRs and STTRs. I highly recommend joining this program.

Dean Zody

CEO, GhostWave Inc.
$300,000 Agility Prime, 21.1A, two 21.2B awards

The Department of the Air Force directed me to work with APEX to apply to their Open SBIR opportunity. With the help of APEX, I developed a competitive SBIR Phase I proposal that was selected and funded. I wanted to take the time to thank you and the rest of the APEX team for helping the Vissers Battery Corporation and to highly recommend Dr. Gisser as an SBIR/STTR consultant.


Daniel R. Vissers, Ph.D. 

Chief Executive Officer, Vissers Battery Corporation
$50,000 AFWERX 21.1A SBIR Phase I

The APEX program is a game changer, and I can’t thank you and the team enough for all the help, it’s like having someone with a flashlight leading us through the dark. 

Howard Herbert

VP, Government Services
Polaris Aero, LLC

Pre-release STTR/SBIR opportunities happening now. Find a partner & proposal consulting here.

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Who We Are and What We Do

The Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (APEX) is a first-of-its-kind program that aims to enhance partnerships between the Department of the Air Force and academia nationwide in support of the United States Air Force Science & Technology 2030 Strategy. APEX is a Department of the Air Force partnership intermediary agreement. 

APEX provides free resources to academic researchers and innovators throughout the U.S.A. who are interested in participating in or applying for funding from the Air Force Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transition Research (STTR) programs. APEX's goal is to make a major leap forward in Department of the Air Force defense technology innovation and development.

Our Vision

Enhance access to top national talent, advance innovative workforce development, support agile practices, expand the Department of the Air Force's scientific presence, cultivate partnerships and increase technology transition opportunities.

Our Mission

Connect universities, businesses, and the government; build collaborations between these sectors; identify their transformational operational defense solutions and capabilities; and advance defense technology development for the Department of the Air Force. 

Our Services

Share your ideas with the Department of the Air Force!

The Department of the Air Force is committed to delivering an effective service to connect industry, academia, and the government by expanding and strengthening their partnerships and leveraging the innovation networks within them. The Air Force Tech Connect is a new product provided by the U.S. Air Force to ensure more external innovations have a transformational impact on the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force.

The Tech Connect team, comprised of Air Force Research Laboratory personnel, connects quality, relevant ideas, and technologies with U.S. Air Force subject matter experts. The Tech Connect Team will review submitted ideas and inquiries, provide feedback and establish a dialogue between the submitter and potentially interested U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force programs.

The button below will navigate you to the Air Force Tech Connect website for submission of your idea.

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