The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship program funds recent graduates and energy professionals to support critical energy organizations in advancing clean energy solutions that will help decarbonize the power system, electrify transportation and industry, and make the U.S. power system more resilient, equitable and inclusive.
The program recruits candidates from diverse backgrounds to spend up to two years at eligible Host Institutions.
The process outlined below applies to the 2024 application and selection cycle.
- Prospective Host Institutions apply to the program with a specific project scope, details of which are outlined below. The project is defined upfront to facilitate the matching process but may evolve over the fellowship period. The staff member of an eligible Host Institution who will mentor the fellow and oversee the project activities should submit the application and participate in the Fellow selection process. The application period for Host Institutions opens on Feb. 1, 2024 and closes on March 5, 2024. Further information and instructions, such as how to apply and eligibility criteria, can be found in the "For Host Institutions" and FAQ sections below.
- Fellowship candidates apply to the program describing their interest in the opportunity and their relevant skills and experience. Candidates will indicate their top host projects of interest in their applications. The application period for Fellows will open in April 2024. Further information and instructions, such as how to apply, can be found in the "For Fellows" and FAQ sections below.
2. DOE Review
- DOE reviews Host Institution applications and selects Host Institutions and projects that fit the program criteria and budget.
- DOE may conduct a 15-minute interview with a Host Institution for clarification purposes.
- DOE conducts initial reviews of all candidate applications for completeness and minimal requirements according to program criteria.
- DOE may conduct a 15-minute interview with a candidate for clarification purposes.
3. Host Institution—Fellowship Candidate Interviews
- Host Institutions review fellowship candidate applications and conduct fellowship candidate interviews. Host Institutions select candidates for interviews based on information submitted in the candidate applications.
4. Innovator Fellow Selection
- Host Institutions notify DOE of selected fellowship candidate.
- DOE conducts a 30-minute interview with the fellowship candidate and Host Institution Mentor to confirm Host Institution—Fellow match. A Host Institution and selected fellowship candidate are not guaranteed a match until an offer is made and accepted by the fellowship candidate.
Important dates (subject to change)
- Host Institution application (opens Feb. 1, 2024; closes March 5, 2024)
- Fellowship candidate application (April 2024)
- Host Institution-candidate selection window (May to August 2024)
- Fellow start date window (June to end of August 2024)
- Onboarding webinars (2) for Mentors and Fellows (end of June to end of August 2024)
Start Your Application
For Host Institutions
Host Institutions define the project the Fellow will learn from and support and will identify a staff member who will serve as the Fellow's Mentor. The Mentor's role is to provide guidance to the Fellow throughout their fellowship and support a successful experience. A Fellow's project is defined up front to support the matching process but may evolve over the fellowship period.
Content from Host Institution applications will be posted on the Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship website to assist fellowship candidates with their Host Institution selection. Prospective Fellows will be asked to select their preferred Host Institutions based on their project descriptions and locations.
DOE supports the candidate recruitment process and conducts initial screening of fellowship candidates. Host Institutions are responsible for candidate application reviews, scheduling and conducting interviews, and notifying DOE of their preferred fellowship candidates.
At the start of the fellowship appointment, Host Institutions are expected to provide the Fellow with standard resources, including a Host Institution email address, computer and associated equipment, and a workstation if onsite.
- Electric cooperatives
- Grid operators
- Municipal utilities
- Public utility commissions (PUCs)
- State energy offices
- Tribal entities defined below:
- Indian Tribes (as defined in 25 U.S.C. § 5304, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation), including energy related offices and utilities operating within or chartered through Indian Tribes.
- Non-profit Regional Intertribal Organizations comprised of two or more federally recognized Indian Tribes, established under congressional, state, or Tribal law to act on behalf of the participating Indian Tribes. This includes, but is not limited to intertribal councils, regional Tribal organizations or associations, Alaska regional development organizations, and Tribal federations.
Non-profits, universities, or privately owned businesses are ineligible to apply as Host Institutions of this class.
DOE is interested in projects focused on the following topics:
- Clean energy development (e.g., engagement and coordination)
- Distributed energy (e.g., adoption and integration, inverter-based resources, microgrids)
- Electrification (e.g., buildings, vehicles and transportation, charging infrastructure)
- Equity and energy justice
- Essential grid services (e.g., frequency regulation, voltage support, operating reserves, regulatory and economic structures)
- Grid resilience (e.g., energy planning, investment prioritization and valuation, planning and modernization, metrics development, community engagement and equity)
- Regulation (e.g., rate design, interconnection)
- Tribal energy (e.g., Tribal entities that are initiating clean energy development, engaging with outside clean energy development, managing a transition away from fossil fuels)
When developing projects, Host Institution applicants should note that Fellows are not permitted to support activities related to soliciting financial assistance and funding.
Merit Review Criteria
- Degree to which the proposed project aligns with the mission and program priorities of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), the Grid Deployment Office (GDO), and the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs (IE) (see next section).
- Degree to which there is strong potential for impact from a completed project.
- Degree to which the Host Institution staff demonstrates willingness to make the time commitment to be a meaningful Mentor.
Additionally, the following criteria will be applied to Tribal entity hosts:
- Demonstrated opportunities for hosted Fellows to gain hands-on experience addressing one of the following:
- Navigating the development of Tribal initiated energy projects, including project development, project finance, and partnership development.
- Engaging with outside developers and with federal agencies on matters related to energy projects.
- Engaging with communities that have experienced significant job loss due to the transition away from fossil fuels.
- Degree to which the Indian Tribe(s) is impacted by Energy Burden. See the FAQ to learn more.
The following factors will be considered and may influence the selection of Host Institutions:
- Variety across EERE programmatic areas (energy eﬃciency, renewable power, and sustainable transportation), GDO programmatic areas (essential grid services, grid resilience formula grant implementation, grid resilience metric development), and IE programmatic areas (Tribal entities that are: initiating clean energy development, engaging with outside clean energy development, managing a transition away from fossil fuels).
- Diversity of Host Institutions (range of types, geography, and resource needs)
- Optimal distribution of appointments within and across varying types of Host Institutions (e.g., PUCs, utilities, grid operators).
- Expansion of DOE's funding and support to new competitors and recipients that have not been supported in the past.
The deadline for Host Institutions applications is March 5, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Late applications will not be accepted.
The application is comprised of 20 questions, some requiring detailed responses. Each application must be completed and submitted, with an email confirmation received, before starting a new application. For more information about hosting more than one Fellow, refer to the FAQ section.
A pre-recorded video providing information about the CEIF program and the Host Institution application process will be made available; check back to this webpage for updates.
For Innovator Fellows
The fellowship is open to recent graduates of bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree programs and mid-career professionals. Fellowship candidates must demonstrate an interest in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, and/or sustainable transportation technology and policy; electric grid resilience and modernization; and Tribal energy deployment. Fellows serve one-year terms and have the option to renew for a second year. Fellows receive a competitive stipend with health benefits and professional development allowance.
Merit Review Criteria
- Degree to which the candidate has the training and qualifications required to undertake the type of project in which they have indicated interest.
- Degree to which the candidate's application is clearly articulated, with appropriate levels of technical sophistication.
- Degree to which the candidate is highly motivated and takes initiative.
Program Policy Factors
- Applications may be selected to ensure diversity of the overall Fellows class (geographic diversity, demographic diversity, and a diversity of colleges and universities).
- Applications may be selected that best reflect and support local communities in their Host Institution's jurisdiction or service territory.
Applications for Fellows will open in April 2024.
- Eligible Host Institutions include electric public utility commissions in the United States and U.S. territories, electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, grid operators, state energy offices, Indian Tribes (as defined in 25 U.S.C. § 5304) and any Non-profit Regional Intertribal Organization (defined as any organization comprised of two or more Indian Tribes, established under congressional, state, or Tribal law to act on behalf of the participating Indian Tribes, including but not limited to, intertribal councils, regional tribal organizations or associations, Alaska regional development organizations, and tribal federations). Energy related offices and utilities chartered through an Indian Tribe will be considered eligible.
- This fellowship program is seeking Host Institutions with projects that require innovative approaches to advance the clean energy transition, to host participants in the Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship program, for up to two years.
- The staff member of the Host Institution that would guide the Fellow's progress on the proposed project is considered the Mentor and is expected to play a mentoring role. The Mentor is also the point of contact for the Host Institution throughout the selection process, including interviews.
- If your institution is not listed, it is not eligible to apply. If you would like to be considered in the future, please contact email@example.com.
- Eligible Host Institutions may host more than one Fellow.
- Projects must be unique and distinct for each Fellow.
- Each project and Fellow must have a dedicated Mentor (i.e., a Host Institution cannot have one Mentor for two Fellows).
- Host Institutions interested in hosting more than one Fellow must submit a separate application for each project. Applications must identify the uniqueness of the project. No Mentor can be listed on more than one application.
- Energy burden is the percent of household income that is spent on household energy.
- The Energy Justice Mapping Tool is one tool that applicants can use to get data on energy burden; click on the relevant area(s) of the map, then click "Tract" on the left-hand side, then click "Full Report." The generated report will contain the energy burden for the area.
- Applicants are encouraged to share the range and average of the national percentile over their applicable area. Applicants are welcome to provide alternative data or evidence of energy burden and explain their rationale for using such sources.
Yes. The matching process is based on mutual agreement. At the conclusion of Host Institution-candidate interviews, the host will select their preferred fellowship candidate.
No. A pre-existing relationship refers to a Fellow candidate having a family member, significant other, friend, or similar person in a position at the Host Institution which could give rise to a conflict of interest and/or create the appearance of impropriety. If you have a question about whether a pre-existing relationship exists under particular circumstances, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Host Institutions are expected to provide the Fellow with standard resources, such as a Host Institution email address, computer and associated equipment, and a workstation if onsite.
DOE does not conduct background, security, or drug screening.
- A class is the group of all Fellows selected under one application window.
- The 2024 class of Fellows will be comprised of those successfully receiving placements following their applications to the program solicitation that closes on April 24, 2024. Date is subject to change.
- An appointment in principle involves a full-time commitment to on-site participation at the Host Institution throughout the appointment period. Prior experience has clearly shown that in-person collaboration makes for a higher quality fellowship experience for both parties.
- Given that many Host Institutions have moved to hybrid in-office arrangements in the wake of the COVID pandemic, the expectation is that a Fellow would follow their Host Institution's policies for days in the office versus remote participation from home.
- Full-time remote participation in the fellowship will be considered on a case-by-case basis only, upon request from the Host Institution.
Stipends are determined by highest degree level received and years of relevant professional experience.
Yes. The matching process is based on mutual agreement. If a project or geography is not a fit for a given candidate, then the candidate should not select it in their application.
Any degrees in progress must be completed prior to the start of the fellowship.
- The person providing your reference should be in a position to speak to your ability to contribute to the program. This may be a professional reference or an academic reference.
- Note that fellowship candidates are asked to provide the name and contact information for their reference person in their application; candidates may submit their application prior to receipt of the reference.
An appointment involves a full-time commitment during the Host Institution's business hours, and throughout the appointment period.
The fellowship candidate must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR) residing in the U.S. at the time of application and throughout the appointment period, even if remote. Evidence of this status must be submitted at the time an appointment offer is accepted.
Yes. The fellowship appointment is for one year, renewable for a second if all parties agree to continue.