Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Mentorship Program Capability Assessment


The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) seeks to pursue opportunities to increase engagement between ERDC and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) teams and academic schools to facilitate mentorship and future career awareness. In order to identify potential providers, ERDC has established a Commercial Solutions Opening entitled, “Advancing Mentor/Mentee Relationships into the New Age of Technology.”

Problem Statement

ERDC and USACE have identified a need to provide mentorship that helps students learn about and pursue UAS-related career paths. In order to serve as mentors, subject matter experts (SMEs) require expanded support that aids their involvement.

Operational Use Scenario

ERDC is investigating opportunities to further develop a one-stop-shop software platform application (app) as part of a 12-month pilot which will supply facts and data that document the need and power of mentorship. Following completion of this pilot, the effort may expand to support the interests of UAS teams to 1) fill the talent pipeline, 2) retain current employees (align their strengths/goals to goals of the DoD), and 3) share lessons learned and best practices across agencies and with industry. 

Current State

There are numerous ERDC employees that are manually making connections via email and word of mouth. This process is cumbersome and many people are left out. There is a lot of room for improvement with process, rigor, automation. Scalability is paramount. A systematic approach could greatly support the ability of SMEs to interact with students as well as make connections with employment candidates and future project customers. Additionally, SMEs could benefit from resulting peer-to-peer conversations with other leaders in the field to expand their knowledge and facilitate collaborations across the ERDC, state, and local government and academia.


The desired solution will provide a software platform that: 

  • offers a way to post messages such as educational mentorship resources and upcoming events to the community and automatically notify all users when “new messages” are posted
  • offers a one stop shop for community engagement. One stop shop includes the ability for users to create individual profiles, track topics of interests with self ratings, integrated calendars to set availability, in-app video calling, and the ability to track conversation notes over time
  • has proven success with other organizations prior to the submission of this proposal

The solution provider shall: 

  • manage the implementation and onboarding of all users in the Corps community (internal engineers, partner colleges, other 4 stakeholders)
  • provide ongoing support to answer questions by mentors/mentees and support in person meetings to iterate on the application and lead monthly meetings with the ERDC POC on this project to bring forth any new methods or reporting matrices to best utilize this technology
  • have experience working with the defense industry
  • provide a weekly report with metrics of engagement (conversations that took place, time/date/topic discussed for each conversation, post-conversation rating for each conversation, engagement trends over time, and a recommendation engine of suggested matches)
  • develop a baseline survey and a follow-on survey to measure the results and impacts from the platform usage
  • submit to ERDC an annual report summarizing its efforts, the contents of which will be utilized for ERDC to produce a white paper
    • The report should provide a concise and factual discussion of the results of its efforts to include: a listing of small businesses and educational institution contacts; a listing of agreements entered by ERDC with small businesses and academic institutions that it identified; significant accomplishments resulting from those agreements (publications, technological developments, inventions, patents, product development and sales, etc.); any measurable effect upon community business and employment; lessons learned and recommendations for improvement; and other information related to mentor/mentee connections, number of academia institutions interactions, along with monthly reporting matrices to show the use of the application and progress over the first year of this effort.

The Government reserves the right to share submissions for this project with other ERDC teams when there appears to be a fit with other projects being undertaken or planned by ERDC researchers.

Note: Submissions should NOT include confidential or proprietary details.

Evaluation Criteria

The ERDC will conduct its evaluation based on three factors: technical, importance to agency programs, and funds availability. 

  • The technical factor will assess how innovative the solution is (as defined in this announcement) and the feasibility of the solution solving the unit’s challenges. 
  • The importance to agency programs factor will assess the solution’s potential to enhance the mission effectiveness of the unit. 
  • The funds availability factor will assess the availability of funding to procure the solution.

Project Schedule

Proposed project milestones include: 

  • 31 January 2022 Project Announced, Submissions Open 
  • 08 February 2022 Question Submission Timeframe Closes
  • 14 February 2022 Extended submission deadline

   *Dates may vary to accommodate project team and participant availability.

How to Participate

Qualified parties may submit by completing a submission form and uploading required documentation as defined in the CSO Solicitation document.

1. Develop proposal in solution brief format (download solution brief template)
2. Review FAQ
3. Complete the submission form; attach solution brief and pitch deck PDF(s)

Interested parties may submit questions using this form until 08 February 2022.

Submission Instructions: This solicitation is issued consistent with the authority granted to the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) through the establishment of its Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) with a specific area of interest on Advancing Mentor/Mentee Relationships into the New Age of Technology.  

Submissions must meet stated requirements and be received no later than 5:00 pm CST on Friday, 14 February 2022.

ERDC-EL is conducting this project announcement on a full and open basis and intends to award contracts in accordance with FAR part 12 and the FAR part that is deemed most appropriate for the solution proposed (i.e. FAR part 13, 15, and/or 35); the government reserves the right to award agreements (e.g. Other Transaction Agreements), in accordance with 10 U.S.C. §2371b, if deemed appropriate and in the government’s best interest.

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