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Entrepreneurs Accelerate Deployment of Advanced Clean Energy Technologies from DOE's Labs to the Marketplace

WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today announced a competitive solicitation for five venture capital firms to participate in the expansion of DOE's Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program, that aims to accelerate deployment and commercialization of advanced clean energy technologies from DOE's National Laboratories. EIR furthers President Bush's comprehensive strategy to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by empowering researchers and entrepreneurs to pioneer a new generation of clean energy technologies.

"The Department has established the Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program, to leverage private sector expertise in ways that will move proven technologies developed at DOE's National Laboratories down the capital development pipeline and, ultimately, to the marketplace," Secretary Bodman said. "The EIR program is fundamentally changing the way we conduct business by helping our innovations reach the marketplace much faster."

The additional EIR program solicitation today will ultimately place five more venture capital entrepreneurs in DOE's world class National Laboratories:

  • Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill.
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y.
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif.
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.

Today's funding opportunity announcement (FOA) proposed that each DOE laboratory would host one EIR at a given time, and DOE would support this work by providing up to $50,000 for each entrepreneur to help defray salary and other expenses. Each firm will match DOE funding and may contribute additional funds to support its entrepreneur's work. Each entrepreneur is given the opportunity to work directly with the lab's management and staff to conduct technology assessments, identify market opportunities and accelerate them for commercialization. The entrepreneurs and their venture capital sponsors will negotiate a license to use the laboratory-developed technology. Together they will develop a business plan to finance a start-up business based on the licensed clean energy technology.

While at the laboratory, the entrepreneurs will also recommend policy and business practice modifications to the National Laboratories to further refine their scientific approaches to moving technologies into the private sector.

This announcement combines with the February 2008 announcement, for a total of eight DOE National Laboratories and venture capital firms to participate in the EIR program. The previous laboratories and firms include:

  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory, partnered with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers;
  • Sandia National Laboratory, partnered with ARCH Venture Partners; and,
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory, partnered with Foundation Capital.

DOE has facilitated and encouraged a broad range of collaborative activities to allow the public and private sectors to benefit from the extraordinary research done by DOE's national laboratories' research. These activities include cooperative research and development agreements, financial assistance awards through lab partnerships, and work for others opportunities.

See DOE's Web site to find more information about the EIR program and for the FOA visit Applications are due January 6, 2009.

Media contact(s):

Jennifer Scoggins, (202) 586-4940