Source: | Tom Ballard | September 5, 2018

Image result for innovation crossroadsAn Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) initiative that is attracting top young entrepreneurs to the region to grow their energy-focused start-ups is launching recruitment for its third cohort while also adding an additional key sponsor.

The application process for the next cohort of up to six participants in the “Innovation Crossroads” (IC) program opens today and closes on October 29. The application can be found here.

IC is one of three U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs designed to place top technical post-doctoral talent within national labs as Research Fellows with the goal of subsequently launching businesses. Recipients of the two-year fellowship receive an award valued at nearly $500,000 that includes stipends, vouchers for collaborative research and development at ORNL, start-up business guidance and mentoring, and health and travel benefits.

For the third cohort that will arrive in the region in May 2019, ORNL has signed-up the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as a sponsor. The agency’s funding will provide support for IC Fellows focused on energy-related topics such as grid reliability and emerging technologies.

“TVA pursues research and development that best serves the people of the Valley,” said Joe Hoagland, TVA’s Vice President for Enterprise Relations. “We are leveraging our partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and others to take advantage of this unique entrepreneurial fellowship program.”

We have described the IC program and spotlighted the participants in a series of articles in past editions of (click here to access those articles). The initiative focuses 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.

“We are currently supporting eight start-ups at ORNL through our first two cohorts and have learned a lot about how best to help the entrepreneurial Fellows in the program,” said Tom Rogers, the Lab’s Director of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development. He coordinates the program.

“We’ve been visiting a number of research universities in recent weeks and have scheduled informational webinars for potential candidates on September 6 (today) and October 4,” he added. “Now that we have financial support from both DOE and TVA, we anticipate bringing up to six new entrepreneurial fellows to ORNL in May 2019.”