We are now taking applications for Project Mercury Cohort 8!

We invite motivated members of our defense community to apply for the next cohort of Project Mercury. We are looking for individuals who are dedicated to building the innovation culture, competencies, and community that our Air and Space Forces need.

Back To Project Mercury
Project Mercury Application

Please note, as each cohort has gained exposure and recognition, we anticipate the demand for these 40 slots to be higher than in the past. While our applicants have always been committed to their personal innovation journeys, we will increase our emphasis on supervisor/commander “buy in” for this cohort as a way to model and exemplify the work habits of the future. Participants should have their commander’s support as they devote 1 week of concentrated focus to the Jumpstart and then 5 hours per week during the rest of the program for personal study and team innovation projects.

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 will allow each participant to give their best.

Schedule and time commitment:
(a) Prework: Self-paced readings, videos, and platform familiarization.
(b) Jumpstart (Sept 13-16): This is a concentrated week of lectures, breakout sessions, creative exercises, field trips, and team formation. 
(c) Acceleration: 12 weeks. Asynchronous and synchronous sessions. Estimated commitment is 5-8 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. This ongoing time commitment is why communication with your commander is imperative.
(d) Pitch: Each team will surge during the final week and pitch their solution for adoption or further development.
(e) Innovation Showcase (Late December): The capstone graduation event, which is 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 conjunction 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.

Cohort 8 applications are open through September 1st, 2022. Participants may be admitted on a rolling basis. Each cohort of 40, and the teams of 5-6 individuals on each team, is designed to encourage constructive conflict in the pursuit of greater outcomes. 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.

Personal Information

Home Address (for mailing materials)
Home Address (for mailing materials)

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.

What topic areas are you most interested in working on?