Fostering Innovation and Empowerment: The Internal Research & Development Program at AIS

By Rick Gloo,
Chief Engineer
Five minute read

In the fast-paced world of cybersecurity and information technology, staying ahead of the curve is crucial, and to do that, we have an Internal Research and Development (IRaD) Program that sets the stage for innovation, empowers engineers and aligns seamlessly with our company’s core values.

During the annual IRaD process, engineers are encouraged to take the reins and develop their ideas from conception to implementation. Proposals are submitted, reviewed by peers and then resources are allocated accordingly for staff to explore uncharted territories, test novel approaches and turn their vision into reality.

“The empowerment provided by the IRaD Program instills a sense of ownership among engineers”

The empowerment provided by the IRaD Program instills a sense of ownership among engineers, leading to heightened levels of dedication and passion for their projects. It’s also not only senior engineers that can submit proposals; interns and staff from departments like Finance and IT can, and have, submitted successful IRaD projects, and doing so is not tied in any way to how long you’ve worked at the company.

This autonomy not only results in an enriching work experience but also culminates in better solutions that cater precisely to our customers’ needs, further supporting their critical missions and increasing our nation’s security.

By establishing a culture that values curiosity and welcomes experimentation, we have fostered an environment where engineers feel inspired to push the boundaries of conventional thinking. This focus on innovation fuels the drive to create unique solutions and cutting-edge products that exceed customer expectations which is at the core of what AIS aims to do every day.

When a new engineer starts their career at AIS, I always look forward to introducing this program because it’s a way of communicating to them that they can pursue their passions here.

Exciting focus areas for 2023:

  • Explainable AI/ML
  • RISC-V architecture assessment and applications
  • Hardening Python deployments
  • Transportation security
  • Continued work in the RF framework FISSURE
  • Cyber deception
  • Security implications of wearable devices

We look forward to results from the teams in these areas and stay tuned to future blogs that will seek to share some of the outcomes.

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