We are now taking applications for Project Mercury Cohort 9!

We invite motivated members of the Department of the Air Force to join with a group of allies and partners to apply for the next cohort of Project Mercury. We are looking for individuals who are ready for rapid and immersive learning and are dedicated to building the innovation culture, competencies, and community that multinational Air and Space Forces need.

Back To Project Mercury
Project Mercury Application (November 2022)
Cohort 9 applications are open through December 15th. Participants will be admitted on a rolling basis. In each cohort of 42, you will be placed with up to 6 individuals on a team. The experience is designed to encourage constructive conflict in the pursuit of greater outcomes than could be achieved individually or in your AFCS silo. Be prepared to leave rank - and pretense - at the door. What matters at Mercury are the strength of your ideas and the team’s ability to think big, together.

It is imperative that participants have their commander’s support for this endeavor. The 1 week TDY (Tuesday Jan 17 - Friday morning Jan 20) for the Jumpstart is unit-funded. During the 12 following weeks, a minimum of 5 hours per week is required for live virtual coaching (every Tuesday afternoon ~2 hours), synchronous time to work on team projects (2 hours), and asynchronous personal academic requirements (1hr per week). As part of the application process, supervisors will be asked for their support and endorsement. We believe that the time spent in Project Mercury is a sound investment; having unit support is imperative to allow each participant to give their best.

Schedule and time commitment:

(a)  Orientation (Jan 12, virtual): This half-day teams-and-tools orientation session will set up teams for hybrid work.  Approximately 3 hours of self-paced readings, videos, and platform familiarization is required prior to this session.

(b)  Jumpstart (Jan 17-20, TDY):  This is a concentrated week of lectures, breakout sessions, creative exercises, field trips, and team formation.  It is lively and immersive!  This is a mandatory component. Travel and lodging (TDY) will be unit funded for participants. [Location: The BRICC @ 4100 Fairfax Dr #450, Arlington, VA 22203].

(c)   Acceleration (12 weeks, virtual).  Asynchronous and synchronous sessions.  Estimated commitment is 4-6 hours per week. Participants will complete online course work while simultaneously working on an experiential project with their remote teammates.  Coaching and mentorship is provided throughout the course, typically every Tuesday afternoon from 1-4 ET. A minimum of 2 hours per week as a team is expected and this ongoing time commitment is also mandatory.

(d)  Pitch: Each team will surge during the final week and pitch their solution for adoption or further development to a potential sponsor.

(e)  Innovation Showcase (18 April 23): The capstone graduation event, which will be viewable on Zoom and YouTube.

The successful completion of this course will result in a credential earned through the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and the College of Engineering in collaboration with Air University: Certified Professional Innovator.

Up to 20% of participants will be given an opportunity to return to apprentice as Innovation Coaches under the guidance of Dr. Jeff DeGraff, University of Michigan and Dr. Ethan Eagle.

*** Before proceeding, please take 5 minutes to complete the iGENOME survey.  The results of this innovation strengths survey will be used in team formation.

Link: https://portal.innovationgenome.com/

Personal Information

[USAF, USSF, Other - please specify]
[open to all ranks SSgt - Colonel]
iGenome Primary Color:
iGenome Secondary Color:
Which email do you prefer to use for Project Mercury?
Home Address (for mailing materials)
Home Address (for mailing materials)
Do you have access to a personal or work laptop computer?

Supervisor Information

Note: To be accepted to the program, your supervisor will be notified, and must endorse your application.

Project Mercury

Might include: technical design e.g. patents or projects, marketing and business administration, performance, time management, customer service/customer discovery, working/delivering results under deadlines, you know Elon Musk, founded Google, etc.

Our theme for this cohort is “Integrated by Design.” You and your team will research, explore, and ultimately choose your own project topic. However, teams will be assigned based on common interests in the following “wicked problem” areas.

[Please rank order your interest: 1 (most interested) to 7 (least interested)]