Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Dr. David Danielson has announced the second round of funding for the Energy Department’s Technologist in Residence (TIR) program. At its core, the new program aims to strengthen lab-industry relationships to support industry needs and leverage the national lab network for strategic, long-term, collaborative R&D. Up to $2.3 million will support the Energy Department’s national laboratories in teaming up with manufacturing companies to tackle technical challenges of interest to the participating company or consortium. Leveraging the expertise, resources and capabilities of the national labs—including one-of-a-kind analytical tools such as supercomputers—the program advances U.S. clean energy manufacturing competiveness and unleashes innovations that participating manufacturers can use to save energy, increase productivity, and commercialize high-impact technologies.
Danielson announced the new funding and competitive solicitation for TIR during the EERE National Laboratory Impact Summit at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO, on May 4.
The announcement follows the successful launch of TIR last year, when seven industry-lab pairs—including national companies like Proctor & Gamble, Hewlett Packard, and Cummins—were selected to undertake advanced research in clean energy manufacturing and establish mechanisms that will help interested companies more easily leverage the national lab network in the future.
TIR teams up senior lab technologists with industry professionals in "technologist pairs" for a period of up to two years. The competitively selected technologist pairs comprise one senior technical staff member from a national lab and another from a manufacturing company or consortium of companies. Each technologist pair works together to first identify the technical challenges of interest to the participating company or consortium and the resources and capabilities within the lab that may address them. The pair then proposes a collaborative R&D project to address the identified challenges in industry-relevant technologies, including (but not limited to) developing advanced controls in smart manufacturing, increasing the efficiency of next-generation electric machines, and other R&D to enhance manufacturing of clean energy technologies or to reduce energy intensity in any manufacturing process. The teams develop a framework partnership agreement with specific scopes of work, which will take place outside of the TIR program.
Additionally, TIR created a Council of Technologists that will broaden the partnerships beyond the "one-company, one-lab" model. The council will function as a network across the national lab system to promote labs' industry-relevant resources and help form partnerships. Most importantly, the Council of Technologists will meet throughout the program to provide individual feedback for developing a clear, streamlined set of best practices to help other interested companies establish similar relationships with national labs beyond the program’s duration.
The solicitation, which will support at least six new pairs, will be open and evaluated on a rolling basis, to give lab and industry pairs the opportunity to apply according to their business schedule. Interested national labs and companies will determine areas of mutual interest, identify technologist pairs, and apply to TIR through the Lab Call for Proposals.
The Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative improves America’s competitiveness in the production of clean energy technologies and boosts U.S. manufacturing competitiveness across the board by increasing energy productivity.