The Hydro Research Foundation’s (HRF) Hydro Fellowship Program allowed outstanding up-and-coming student fellows to conduct hydropower-related research—all made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. This successful program encouraged fellows to advance knowledge about hydroelectric technology, including efficiency improvements and environmental mitigation.

Built from the ground up, the HRF Fellowship Program provided relevant and cutting-edge research from 43 students at 24 universities, with 77% of students continuing hydropower work following their fellowship.

“The Fellowship Program has laid the groundwork for demonstrating that through fellowships, the hydropower industry can attract top talent to work on pressing hydropower research and development, expose universities to this clean and reliable renewable energy while addressing workforce development needs for the retiring workforce,” said Deborah Linke, Executive Director of the HRF. 

Hydropower is an efficient producer of emissions-free, renewable energy and is an important part of our nation's energy mix. With low overhead costs and successful placement in the hydropower industry, the innovative program serves as a model where students, professors, industry leaders, and DOE can work together to conduct impactful research that benefits an entire renewable energy industry rather than just a small niche. 

 “With DOE’s support, our fellows were able to use their research backgrounds to provide real solutions to the hydropower industry. This program is an astounding success because of this investment from DOE,” Linke said. HRF is building on the Fellowship Program’s achievement through another Energy Department-funded award call the Hydro Research Foundation University Research Awards Program (RAP). 

The Energy Department’s Water Power Program is committed to developing and deploying a portfolio of innovative technologies for clean, domestic power generation from resources such as hydropower, waves, and tides. Learn more about DOE’s initiatives in hydropower research and development.