To provide summer students an opportunity to flex their technical skills beyond assigned work, Lincoln Laboratory invented the Intern Innovation Idea Challenge (I3C) to encourage interns to envision a new technique or device to solve a current problem.

Summer research students form teams and devote out-of-work hours to develop their concepts with the help of Laboratory mentors. Students have developed intriguing ideas, for example, improving lower-limb prosthetics, powering naval ships with Stirling engines, and purifying water with titanium dioxide.

After an initial proposal and online voting phase, the top dozen teams sell their idea in three-minute pitches to a judging panel consisting of Laboratory leadership – the director, chief technology officer, and division heads. Two weeks later, the top three teams present to the Laboratory community and a winner is chosen. The top teams are invited to return to the Laboratory the next summer to begin beta prototyping their projects with the goal of transitioning it into a full-time Laboratory program.

Learn about our summer research program