The R&D centers of excellence at the Air Force Research Lab
Research Director for the Air Force Research Laboratory Discovery Lab
Dr. Rob Williams is with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) headquartered at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH and the Research Director for the AFRL Discovery Lab. As the director, he oversees a year round research internship program, Year-at-the-Edge (YATE), with a summer component called Summer-at-the-Edge (SATE) that averages over 100 students. The mission of Discovery Lab is "… accelerating today's technology innovations while growing tomorrow's technology innovators...". The focus is primarily 1st / 2nd year undergraduates to grow our future graduate students but opportunities are also extended to graduating high school seniors to give them early hands-on research experience. Dr. Williams is also the architect of the Deep Horizons virtual research & STEM campus which is designed to extend hands-on research opportunities from the current 100 students to a goal in 2015 of 1,000 students through the collaborative capabilities of Deep Horizons virtual reality avatar technology. Prior to his current position, he was technical advisor for an advanced research branch within AFRL Sensors Directorate's, a senior intelligence analyst at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), a graduate engineering professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), and a DARPA Program Manager specializing in "micro-drones". In 2013, he received the national Engineer of the Year award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).