The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) launched its own innovation lab this week, CIA Labs, to support in-house research and development (R&D) driving innovative science and technology to address intelligence challenges.

“Some phenomenal innovations have come from CIA over the years,” Dawn Meyerriecks, head of CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology, said, “and with CIA Labs, we’re now better positioned to optimize developments and further invest in our scientists and technologists. In an evolving threat landscape, CIA Labs will help us maintain our competitive edge and protect our nation.”

CIA Labs will span topic areas such as AI, biotechnology, quantum computing, virtual reality, and data analytics. Those interested in working on research projects with the lab are invited to contact CIA.

Meyerriecks told MIT Technology Review that the agency is specifically interested in using its lab to study how big data tech can process intelligence information. She explained that CIA’s sensors on devices across its mission detect massive amounts of data and officers are interested in developing tech to sort through the data quickly on the device rather than send it back to the central system.

The new project is the first time CIA officers will be able to publicly file patents – and collect profits – on the intellectual property developed at the agency, according to reporting by MIT Technology Review. Through the new initiative, CIA hopes to attract and retain more tech talent. CIA officers, MIT Technology Review wrote, will be able to make up to 15 percent, or up to $150,000 a year, of the total income from their new inventions.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.