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DOE, TVA partner to support next cohort of energy entrepreneurs for ORNL’s Innovation Crossroads

Innovation Crossroads fellows at Oak Ridge National Laboratory access world-class research facilities and entrepreneurial guidance to accelerate the transformation of novel ideas into U.S.-based companies.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 30, 2018 – The next cohort of Innovation Crossroads fellows at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will receive support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Officials made the announcement today at the 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival in Nashville.

Innovation Crossroads is one of three U.S. Department of Energy Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs designed to embed top technical post-doctoral talent within national labs as research fellows with the goal of subsequently launching businesses. The programs focus on early-stage research and development along with entrepreneurial guidance to enable innovators to inject new ideas into national labs and transform novel ideas into U.S.-based companies.

Up to six innovators will receive a two-year post-doctoral entrepreneurial fellowship worth nearly $500,000 that includes stipends, vouchers for collaborative research and development at ORNL, startup business guidance and mentoring, and health and travel benefits. Entrepreneurs will be selected for their hardware-based innovations during the merit-based process and are expected to begin the program in May 2019.

For the first time, TVA will provide funding to support Innovation Crossroads fellows focusing on energy-related topics such as grid reliability and emerging technologies. “TVA pursues research and development that best serves the people of the Valley. We are leveraging our partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and others to take advantage of this unique entrepreneurial fellowship program,” said TVA’s Joe Hoagland, vice president, Enterprise Relations.

Innovation Crossroads fellows have access to world-class research facilities and scientific expertise at ORNL, including the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, the National Transportation Research Center, the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, and the Spallation Neutron Source.

“This new partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority will further enable these promising innovators to leverage the regional innovation ecosystem to advance their technologies and contribute to economic growth in the region,” said AMO director Rob Ivester.

Through partnerships with regional entrepreneurial and business accelerator organizations, fellows also receive assistance with developing business strategies, conducting market research, introductions to potential commercial partners and customers, and finding additional sources of funding.

''It’s really exciting to highlight the progress Innovation Crossroads is making to advance our regional ecosystem for the next generation of entrepreneurs, said Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for energy and environmental sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “Bringing together partners like DOE and TVA enables these aspiring energy entrepreneurs to leverage our scientific tools and expertise for accelerating the path for commercialization to increase American competitiveness.”

Through Innovation Crossroads—now with eight startups whose founders come from some of the most prestigious universities in the nation—embedded entrepreneurs are leveraging the unique assets across the region to transform energy and resource-intensive manufacturing industries. With the additional opportunity in Cohort 3 to include topics for electricity generation, distribution, or end use technologies, innovators will address critical energy challenges that advance the regional innovation ecosystem.

Applications open for Cohort 3 on September 6 and will close October 29. Interested entrepreneurs can learn more about Innovation Crossroads and begin the application process at

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the DOE's Office of Science. The DOE Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. EERE's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) supports early-stage research to advance innovation in U.S. manufacturing and promote American economic growth and energy security.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving more than 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation. For more information about TVA and its 85-year mission of service to the Tennessee Valley, click here.