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Sustainable energy is widely identified as one of the nation’s hottest areas for start-up, innovation and entrepreneurial growth, and the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wants to ensure bright collegians are engaged in this work. The OTT launched its first EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP), a national competition challenging student teams to build a winning business plan that leverages DOE national laboratory-developed and other high-potential energy technologies.

As convener for the Southeast, the Florida High Tech Corridor is leading efforts to engage college and university students in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, and will select a regional winner. In a series of activities from January through March 2022, students have the chance compete for cash prizes totaling $250,000 to advance sustainable energy research for market and commercialization potential.

“We’re thrilled to be a convener of this initiative because it aligns with our emboldened vision to drive boundary-breaking collaboration,” said retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Paul Sohl, CEO of The Corridor. “This is about the future we’re working for, both in terms of accelerating advances in technology and nurturing students as our next high-tech leaders and workforce. The Corridor’s role in this project will also allow us go beyond our coast-to-coast boundaries in Florida to partner with and engage the tech ecosystems in our neighbor states as well.”

 

 

About the Process

Student teams will develop and present a business plan that leverages DOE national laboratory-developed and other high-potential energy technologies. EnergyTech UP will award cash prizes to teams that successfully identify an energy technology, assess its market potential, propose a strategy for commercialization and present to industry judges. Post-secondary students of all levels, including undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking students in public and private community colleges, state colleges and universities, are encouraged to participate.

Throughout the competition, students receive mentorship and materials to aid in their success. Prospective teams are encouraged to explore DOE’s list, and all technologies on the Lab Partnering Service, for ideas of technologies that may be appropriate for commercialization or that would benefit from an innovative business plan.

Top teams will compete for a share of $100,000 in prizes funded by the OTT. In addition, six DOE Technology Offices are offering up to $25,000 each in bonus prizes for the best teams in their respective fields:

  • Geothermal Technology Office
  • Solar Energy Technology Office
  • Office of Nuclear Energy
  • Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management
  • Building Technology Office
  • Water Power and Technologies Office

Teams first present at regional events in February 2022, where regional winners are selected. First-place regional winners are provided exclusive mentorship and free access to OTT’s Energy I-Corps curriculum to help students refine their ideas throughout February and March. The regional winners will pitch their complete business plan during Carnegie Mellon University’s Energy Week, hosted by CMU’s Scott Institute, in March 2022.

 

Registration & Deadline

Teams of at least two students must register and submit their 200-word concept summary and pitch deck by Jan. 31, 2022. For more information, including how to register, visit: https://www.herox.com/EnergyTechUP.

For questions about the Southeast region competition, please contact Amy Beaird, Ph.D., at amy.beaird@floridahightech.com.

A regional economic development initiative of: