United States Air Force Academy

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Research at New Heights

Enhancing the cadet learning experience by fostering the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed as leaders in the Air Force and Space Force and beyond.

Cadet grinding project
cadet working on expiriments
Cadet working on FalconSat
Cadets doing experiment
Image of cadet doing research.
Image of cadet doing research.
U.S. Air Force Academy -- (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)
U.S. Air Force Academy – (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)
U.S. Air Force Academy – (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)
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Research Overview


The U.S Air Force Academy is an unparalleled academic, military, and athletic institution. At the heart of the Academy’s innovative spirit is our research enterprise. Our undergraduate research program is among the Nation’s best and executes roughly $40 million dollars of annual funding, the most of any undergraduate institution. Our cadets and faculty are repeatedly recognized with national awards, patents, and publications. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for innovation, with cadets and faculty contributing to leading-edge research supporting our national defense. Beyond solving problems, research plays a vital role in developing innovative officers with intellectual curiosity and habits of thought that will revolutionize our Air and Space Forces

Research at the Academy is supported by 24 robust research centers working across various disciplines. Some of our core research facilities and equipment include a state-of-the-art battle lab conducting realistic wargaming scenarios, our Observatory’s 1-meter advanced telescope supporting a globally operational network, a modern human performance laboratory that optimizes warfighter physical and cognitive abilities, and a self-driving Tesla Model X used by the Warfighter Effectiveness Research Center to advance human-machine teaming technology.

Leveraging the Academy’s extensive network of research partners, the Cadet Summer Research Program annually sends over 350 cadets throughout the United States and around the world to explore research projects. Through this program, our cadets tackle complex research issues to improve our world. From breakthroughs in quantum computing to supporting homeless veteran initiatives and innovating wheelchair technology for the physically challenged, our cadets help solve real-world issues.

At a Glance


24Research Centers and Institutes

387cadets in Cadet Summer Research Program (CSRP)

217National and International Research Agreements

53Patents issued to cadet and faculty researchers




The Academy’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Outreach Program exists to engage, inspire and attract the next generation of STEM talent through K-12 programs. Faculty and cadets work with the local community, schools and teachers to provide outreach and increase the effectiveness of the Air Force’s investment in STEM. Cadets have the opportunity to mentor the next generation of potential cadets through involvement in these efforts.

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An Air Force research pioneer and former high school chemistry teacher, Col Frank J. Seiler was a strong advocate of in-house research and the effective use of young scientific officers and officer-candidates. Civilian university students had always participated in the research, and Seiler envisioned that if Academy cadets could be involved in real-world research efforts, they would be better prepared for their future assignments.

Explore Centers & Institutes



Cadet Summer Research Program

The Cadet Summer Research Program (CSRP) provides opportunities for cadets to solve relevant problems, learn through real-world application of classroom principles, and build lasting collaborative relationships while participating in research at the various military, government, and civilian facilities throughout the world. CSRP participants receive credit for a military summer training program through this career-broadening assignment. Cadets interested in competing for a CSRP slot should contact Maj. Dan O’Keefe, CSRP Director, for more information.

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