What is the Lab-Corps Program?
Lab-Corps is a new Department of Energy (DOE) program that seeks to empower national laboratory researchers with the skills and know-how to successfully transition technologies into high-impact, real world applications in the private sector. National laboratory researchers with a commercially relevant clean energy technology will team up with an entrepreneurial lead and an industry mentor who has had experience in technology commercialization. The team will attend sessions that will guide them through a systematic process to assess the potential of their technology in light of market and customer needs and in developing a commercialization plan. The team will meet and speak with potential customers, gain direct market feedback and potentially pursue the development of startup companies, industry partnerships, licensing agreements, and other business opportunities.
Lab-Corps is run by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE), which is committed to improving the DOE national laboratories’ commercial impact on clean energy industries. The Idaho National Lab feeder site will be co-managed by theCenter for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) and the INL, in partnership with Boise State University (BSU), Idaho Technology Council (ITC) and Renewable Tech Ventures (RTV). The partners will assist teams in reaching go/no-go decisions on the commercial potential for their technology, selecting entrepreneurial leads and industry mentors and additional training with business plan development.
How much funding is available?
Two teams total will be selected from INL applicants. Each team will receive $75,000, which may be used for salaries, travel to training programs and customer meetings, technology maturation, training materials, and commercialization support services. CAES, INL and BSU will provide in-kind support, including assistance with business plan development, office and laboratory space, administrative and legal support, and access to networks of commercial and entrepreneurial resources.
What is the procedure for team formation and funding award?
There will be one or more matchmaking sessions to give staff from INL the opportunity to meet potential entrepreneurial leads and industry mentors. Staff from CAES, INL, BSU, ITC and RTV will use their networks as necessary to find appropriate industry mentors and entrepreneurial leads. Funding will be awarded through a competitive selection program; applicants will be asked to submit a one-page summary of their business plan. Several teams from INL will be selected to pitch their concepts to a committee of scientists, entrepreneurs, and industry experts, culminating in the selection of the two feeder program teams. CAES and BSU will provide training in preparing the business plan and in making pitches.
What is the time commitment?
After teams are selected, they will participate in an eight-week training program, during which the laboratory technical lead will be expected to spend at least 40% of his/her time on the program, and the entrepreneurial lead will be expected to commit at least 70% of his/her time. The technical lead and entrepreneurial leads will also be required to attend off-site training classes with site support staff.
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INL Selects DOE Lab-Corps Program Participants
Idaho National Laboratory has selected two teams to participate in the Department of Energy’s Lab-Corps Program during 2015.