Solving national security problems by collaborating with partners from the academic and venture communities.

The Collaboration Portfolio increases the intellectual diversity of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) by bringing together innovators from defense, academia, and the venture community to solve national security problems. The programs within the Collaboration Portfolio provide opportunities for service members to engage with non-traditional partners to better understand problems and discover new solutions.

NSIN’s Collaboration Portfolio programs include:

Hacking for Defense (H4D)

H4D pairs DoD end users with top university students for collaborative problem-solving over the course of an academic semester. Students work to develop a minimal viable product solution to improve the real-world problems of service members that can be adopted by the DoD end users.


Hacks offers students, faculty, and early-stage ventures a 48-hour period to engage in collaborative problem-solving with DoD sponsors. NSIN will provide up to $90K in total awards to winning teams to further develop their concepts.


Maker offers prototyping solutions for accepted novel solutions from NSIN programming, allowing customers to turn ideas from the abstract and theoretical into practical and real prototypes.


Source provides a virtual platform of crowd-sourced ideas that DoD leaders can interact with in the form of online innovation challenges.


Bootcamp is a three-day crash course that delivers speed and efficiency in solving problems beyond the speed of government. Facilitated by a university teaching team, the program brings innovation tools and practices to bear on the DoD’s toughest problems. Offered to a cohort of up to 40-participants, the Bootcamp program will give hands on innovation experience to DoD servicemembers through a practical problem-solving experience. The outcome of the program is meant to provide a prototype or minimum viable product (MVP) to the commander, which directly addresses a problem the unit is facing.