Have an EnergyTech idea? Compete for $250,000 in student prizes through the U.S. DOE University Prize.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) is inviting Syracuse student startups to compete for $250,000 in prizes through the OTT-sponsored EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP).  The program is designed to further energy technology commercialization by challenging multidisciplinary teams of college students to develop and present a business plan that leverages DOE national laboratory-developed and other high-potential energy technologies.

EnergyTech UP will award $250,000 in total cash prizes to teams that navigate a three-phase process, which includes successfully identifying an energy technology (“Explore”), assessing its market potential (“Refine”), and proposing a strategy for commercialization (“Pitch”). The top teams will compete for a share of $100,000 in prizes funded by 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. The six offices include: the Geothermal Technologies Office, Solar Energy Technologies Office, Office of Nuclear Energy, Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, Building Technologies Office, and the Water Power Technologies Office.

EnergyTech UP is distinct from other startup competitions in its design to be approachable, equitable, and scalable nationwide. Targeting undergraduate students with or without a background in energy or business, the competition provides the resources needed for teams to succeed and selects winners based on the strength of their proposal, not the strength of their background.

Students are encouraged to explore national lab-developed technologies on the OTT Lab Partnering Service.

Participating teams will present their projects in January 2022 at regional events closest to their institution. Regional winners will then be granted exclusive DOE mentorship and access to OTT’s Energy I-Corps curriculum, a tool that will help each team refine their ideas. Finally, the regional winners pitch their complete business plan at Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU’s) Energy Week, hosted by CMU’s Scott Institute in March 2022.

OTT’s EnergyTech UP is partnering with DOE’s American-Made Challenges prize platform, offering a new opportunity to the prize community.

All undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to compete.  Multidisciplinary student teams are strongly encouraged.

Some helpful tools:

Some key dates:

  • January 31, 2022: Explore Phase registration closes
  • February 2022: Teams pitch at regional events
  • March 2022: Refine Phase opens for Regional Winners
  • March 24, 2022: Pitch Phase opens and teams pitch at CMU Energy Week

Learn more and register a team to compete.