The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invests millions of dollars every year in U.S. national laboratories; yet without industry engagement and a business mindset at the labs, that investment has limited economic return.
Energy I-Corps pairs teams of researchers with industry mentors for an intensive two-month training where the researchers define technology value propositions, conduct customer discovery interviews, and develop viable market pathways for their technologies. Researchers return to their laboratory with a framework for industry engagement to guide future research and inform a culture of market awareness. In this way, Energy I-Corps is ensuring our investment in the national laboratories is maintaining and strengthening U.S. competitiveness in the long term.
Energy I-Corps, formerly known as DOE's Lab-Corps, is managed by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). NREL leads curriculum development and execution, recruits program instructors and industry mentors, and assembles teams from the following national laboratories:
- Argonne National Laboratory
- Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
- Idaho National Laboratory
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Los Alamos National Laboratory
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
- Sandia National Laboratories
For each class of Energy I-Corps teams, these national laboratories recruit researchers working on energy technologies that have shown potential for commercial application. Together, these researchers receive comprehensive training and each conduct at least 75 customer discovery interviews with industry. Once they have completed the training, participants have secured the necessary industry connections and insights to ready their energy technologies for the market and gained an industry engagement framework to apply to future research and share with fellow researchers.
Argonne employees interested in learning more and/or applying, please see Inside Argonne.