Introduction: The U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research collaborates with researchers on a global scale.
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), based in Arlington, Virgina, is the basic research manager for the United States Air Force. As an integral part of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), AFOSR discovers, shapes and champions basic science that profoundly impacts the future Air Force. AFOSR Program Officers respond to whitepapers and proposals from researchers worldwide to orchestrate the synergistic efforts of the talented and productive teams of researchers in universities, industry and AFRL laboratories.
Challenges: AFOSR needs a wide variety of methods available to ensure reliable collaboration with researchers worldwide.
AFOSR Program Officers need to collaborate with researchers, organizations and individuals around the world who may not have access to traditional DOD systems. Some users prefer exchanging questions and answers in online forums, while some prefer live discussions with Program Officers and other researchers. AFOSR needs streamlined communications between Program Officers and researchers worldwide to enable collaboration within research communities encompassing a wide variety of individuals.
Solutions: Create a community where researchers from any country or organization can consult with AFOSR Program Officers to produce cutting-edge research proposals for advancing the Air Force mission.
AFOSR uses their APAN community to enable researchers and Program Officers to receive rapid responses to questions, solicit advice on best practices for proposal development, and create a customized area for ongoing discussions.
AFOSR is able to update and manage extensive amounts of information quickly using wikis which allow multiple authors to edit information, track versions, and directly link to content using a URL-based table of contents. Users may comment or ask questions directly within the wiki or community forums enabling the Program Officers to keep information up to date and accurate. Since the information is exchanged in an open environment, the duplication of effort is reduced significantly.
AFOSR researchers are located worldwide and often need real-time communication with Program Officers to fully discuss complex processes. Users can upload proposal documents to the APAN community. Program Officers can then provide feedback about the uploaded content utilizing online web-conferencing rooms or an APAN comments feature. Using APAN Connect conference rooms, Program Officers and researchers can converse in real-time using screen sharing, webcams, and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). Since APAN’s online meeting rooms can be used anytime, 24/7, AFOSR Program Officers can speak with researchers anywhere in the world without additional international phone charges. Sessions can also be recorded for later viewing if someone misses a meeting.