About the Institute


The University of South Florida's Institute of Applied Engineering (IAE) stands as a distinctive and impactful organization, addressing a pressing concern within the government with notable success since its establishment in 2018. Dedicated to advancing national security, the IAE has provided the Department of Defense with diverse capabilities, safeguarding and enhancing the capabilities of our warfighters. Additionally, it has propelled the University of South Florida into the realm of space exploration through the deployment of a satellite network. Given its unique narrative and contributions to national security, policymakers and academics focused on problem-solving should comprehend the innovative model embodied by the IAE. 

Timeline of IAE's history. Extended description follows.


  • 2014: Need for organization identified
  • 2016: MOU between USF and SOFWERX established to provide interns and research capability
  • 2017: Vision for the organization identified
  • 2019: RDA established between IAE and SOFWERX to continue facilitation of research and intern program
  • 2020: IDIQ awarded between IAE and USSOCOM in February
  • 2022: BPA awarded between IAE and CENTCOM & 6th ARW in September

Mission and Vision

The overarching objective of the IAE is to serve the interests of the American warfighter across diverse settings, encompassing the battlefield, garrison, and home environments with their families. From its inception, the IAE was strategically formulated to address gaps within the military, aligning its mission with the goal of enhancing the well-being and capabilities of the nation's defense personnel. 


The impetus for the IAE arose during Dean Robert Bishop's tenure as the incoming Dean of the College of Engineering at USF. Recognizing a void in the connection between USF's faculty and the military, Dean Bishop undertook the task of bridging this gap, envisioning an innovative model that could revolutionize military acquisition processes. The IAE was conceived not only to foster collaboration but also to reshape the military's approach to technology acquisition. 

Innovative Model

The establishment of the IAE was a meticulous process involving legal considerations, resulting in the formation of a non-profit 501c3 organization directly affiliated with the University of South Florida. Notably, the IAE's unique feature lies in its ability to autonomously handle contractual processes, streamlining the acquisition of advanced technologies for government organizations. This innovative contractual procedure has proven effective in expediting the acquisition process, addressing the critical need for the military to keep pace with the rapid technological advancements in the private sector. 

Physical Presence

Beyond its innovative model, the IAE plays a pivotal role in the Tampa Bay region's engineering community. Addressing a previous limitation, the IAE established a secure facility, enabling engineers in the region to work on projects requiring a secret clearance. IAE hosts a Rapid Engineering Lab (REL), SCIF, and CUI facility. This initiative has positioned local military and government organizations to tap into the vast potential of engineers and academics within USF and the broader Tampa Bay region. 


The Institute of Applied Engineering, through its Academic Consortium, innovative contracting system, and secure physical infrastructure, exemplifies a multifaceted approach toward achieving its primary mission of enhancing the warfighter and their families in every conceivable situation. In the face of a sluggish and inefficient military acquisitions process, the IAE's progressive model sets a commendable precedent for private sector and military collaboration, ultimately fortifying the United States' national defense capabilities.