Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

National Lab Scientists Praise Entrepreneurial 'Boot Camp'

October 3, 2016

You are here

Graduates Reflect on Energy I-Corps Program

Some of the nation’s top researchers recently completed the Energy Department’s Lab-Corps program to better understand the commercialization process.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) national laboratories have unique and specific capabilities that make the United States a leader in developing new solutions to the world’s toughest energy and climate challenges. One way the Energy Department is ensuring we get the most transformative clean technologies from these resources is through DOE’s Lab-Corps program. In late August, this innovative training program celebrated the graduation of its third class, adding eight more national laboratory research teams to its alumni ranks.

Throughout July and August, eight teams of scientists from seven national labs completed a rigorous entrepreneurial “boot camp.” These teams learned a great deal from DOE’s Lab-Corps’ industry mentors, faculty advisors, and customer discovery assignments. Participants gained unique insights to help them understand industry weaknesses, revenue streams, customer channels, and the partnerships necessary for commercialization. Check out the video above to hear highlights from our recent graduates.

Following the completion of the first cohort in October 2015, DOE’s Lab-Corps’ participants endorsed the training enthusiastically. Graduates and industry mentors from the first class participated in a thorough external review of the program, and 92% of graduates indicated substantial increases in understanding market needs related to their technologies. Similarly, mentors to these initial teams reported that DOE’s Lab-Corps has very high potential to get more lab-developed technologies into the marketplace. Full results from this external review will be available in November through a Summary Report posted on DOE’s Lab-Corps website.

We’re confident this entrepreneurial training is having an impact on the broader innovation ecosystem, and our recent industry mentors and instructors agree. Here is what some said following our August graduation:

(click image to watch the video)

October 18 marks the start of the program’s fourth class of teams. We can’t wait to see how these new participants and current DOE Lab-Corps alumni take their new entrepreneurial skills and make their cleantech innovations a reality.