ALEI Project Receives 2023 Science and Innovation Award

2023 Science and Innovation Award graphic from FBINAA Charitable Foundation

Recognition for Innovative Training Experience for Law Enforcement

The technology-defining pilot project of TechGrowth Ohio client Ohio360 was selected to receive the 2023 Science and Innovation Award for their Appalachian Law Enforcement Initiative project (ALEI). The prestigious award is presented by the FBI National Academy Associates Charitable Foundation to recognize new or significantly improved law enforcement or criminal justice products, technologies, processes, or techniques.

“This is a huge honor for our team,” said John Bowditch, Director of the Game Research and Immersive Design Lab and Associate Professor at the J. Warren McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies at Ohio University. “ALEI is the project that really started us thinking outside our box when we realized that we could move beyond virtual reality as simply entertainment.”

The Appalachian Law Enforcement Initiative is designed to improve safety and community support with a unique Cine-VR training experience that fills gaps in available training for law enforcement in underserved areas.

For the ALEI program, the team created two distinct Cine-VR experiences that fully immerse trainees in potentially volatile scenarios. Each “story” lasts approximately 20 minutes and includes two versions of the same story from perspectives of two different participants. During both versions, the trainees hear and see everything in the stories’ environments, including all peripheral elements.

For ALEI, the innovative Cine-VR technology experience focuses on emotional intelligence, de-escalation, and mental health. It emphasizes practical application of early recognition and effective verbal skills.

The unique value of ALEI is its ability to deliver on demand, low cost, and highly impactful training in remote areas where training is often impractical or unavailable.

With assistance from TechGrowth Ohio, Ohio360 is doing market research for launching a SE Ohio technology startup and cinematic virtual reality development company. The proposed entity will partner with industry production resources to create their experiences, while focusing on overall product development and marketing beyond ALEI.  Ohio360 is presently led by Bowditch in collaboration with GRID Lab at the Scripps College and the George Voinovich School of Public Service, both at Ohio University.

The FBI National Academy Associates Charitable Foundation’s mission is the care, support, and continued educational development of the members of the FBI National Academy Associates, and their families, as well as other nonprofit law enforcement affiliated associations. Each year, the Foundation recognizes one individual or entity with their Science & Innovation Award. For more information on the FBI National Academy Associates Charitable Foundation, visit

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