Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP)

Funding Opportunity Number: DE-FOA-0001271
Funding Organization: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Open Date: 2015-02-11
Close Date: 2015-04-16
Funds Available:

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has issued, on behalf of the Technology-to-Market Team in the Office of Strategic Programs, a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) number DE-FOA-0001271 entitled “Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP).” The full text of the FOA is posted on the EERE eXCHANGE website at

The mission of EERE’s Technology-to-Market Team is to aid EERE technology offices and American energy innovation stakeholders in addressing the technological and financial barriers to bring new intellectual property to market. To advance this mission, the Technology-to-Market sub-program supports a variety of commercialization and entrepreneurship activities in partnership with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories, universities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations around the country. Existing activities include the DOE National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition (NCEBPC), National Incubator Initiative for Clean Energy, Lab-Corps, and Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Programs (SBIR/STTR); past activities include the Innovation Ecosystem Development Initiative, i6 Green Challenge, Technology Commercialization Fund, Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, and other initiatives.

This FOA supports the creation of the Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) program designed to address the significant barriers to creating clean energy technology start-ups, resulting from a dearth of participants entering the energy entrepreneurship pipeline. For the United States to accelerate the rate of clean energy innovation and remain competitive, a strong national infrastructure that spurs and supports high-tech entrepreneurship is critical. Traditionally, the nation’s institutions of higher education—where there is a strong ecosystem for entrepreneurs and start-ups—have fostered the high-tech innovation pipeline. EERE has had success in supporting initiatives to spur student entrepreneurship. Cleantech UP builds on its precursor, the DOE NCEBPC, which leveraged growing interest in energy entrepreneurship to expand student engagement in clean energy technologies. The Cleantech UP program seeks to catalyze clean energy start-up formation on college campuses, support novel training and educational opportunities that equip the next generation of energy entrepreneurs and innovators across the country, establish a national-level training program and competition for America’s top clean energy student entrepreneurs, and create a sustained and diverse community to support student entrepreneurs.

It is anticipated that up to $2.5 million in DOE funds will be awarded under this FOA, subject to the availability of appropriations. The FOA includes two general Areas of Interest:

  • Area of Interest 1: Cleantech UP Hub. The Hub will be responsible for engaging the nation’s student entrepreneurs, developing an innovative training program, institutionalizing coordination within the student cleantech entrepreneurship community and the Collegiate Competitions, and executing the nation’s premier event for student cleantech entrepreneurs at the National Competition, including awarding a National Prize in coordination with DOE. The Hub will create and implement programs to address gaps in clean energy entrepreneurship training that occur early in the education pipeline. The Hub will also provide capacity building activities related to the Cleantech UP network and the general clean energy entrepreneurship ecosystem.
  • Area of Interest 2: Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions. The Collegiate Competitions recruit teams from their universities and regions—and potentially nationally. They prepare teams as they form and provide the early catalyst for company formation. Collegiate Competitions execute annual contests and each awards a prize for the winning cleantech company. The winners are eligible to compete in the National Competition.

The full text of the Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0001271 is posted on the EERE eXCHANGE website at Applications will only be accepted through that website. The applicant must first register and create an account on the EERE eXCHANGE website.

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