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 an opportunity to engage in collaborative problem-solving collision events with DoD partners. Registration typically opens 45 days prior to the hackathon and continues until the event starts.


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.


The NSIN Capstone program is an opportunity for student technologists and entrepreneurs to serve their country and provide solutions to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) while solving real-world national security challenges via existing university capstone courses.