Lab-Corps Program Trains Scientists in Commercialization

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Energy Department's Lab-Corps Program Trains Scientists in Commercialization
This video features an introduction to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Lab Corps program - a specialized training curriculum aimed at accelerating the transfer of clean energy technologies from national laboratories into the commercial marketplace.

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Lab-Corps: Moving Innovation into the Marketplace

David Danielson: The work that the Department of Energy funds with our national laboratories is in some of the most exciting and important and difficult technical challenges that there are in clean energy.

What gets me incredibly excited about Lab-Corps is we’re taking this tremendous asset, this world-class set of national labs we have in this country, and we’re taking their commercial engagement and their commercial impact to a completely other level.

Jean Redfield: Lab-Corps is a really great opportunity to work with the basic concepts of I-Corps, which is a course designed to help researchers make the transition to commercialization.

Wendolyn Holland: Why did we need this Lab-Corps process? Well, because it’s actually hard to get technologies out of the lab and bring them to market.

Chuck Booten: You really need to think about not necessarily how new and interesting is your technology, but does it solve somebody’s problem, and does it solve it for them at a price that they’re willing to pay for it.

Corey Smith: It’s pretty easy for us to have started with a hypothesis of what we thought was of value to the industry, but to go out and actually talk to the folks that were going to make our hypothesis work or not was revelatory.

Sandy Butterfield: I think it changes the way you target your research and the research results that you’re looking for, and how to present them in a way that’s more valuable to private industry.

Aaron Wilson: What we’ve really learned is the language of business.

Scott Butner: You know, as a technical person, I always kind of looked at business as the easy part and the science and the engineering as the hard part. This kind of changed my mind about that a little bit. It was really a very good crash course.

Jean Redfield: I think what’s most exciting about Lab-Corps and national lab participants is the potential to ignite a whole new culture of what does it mean to do research in this country. The idea of the scientist locked away and thinking great thoughts is completely outdated.

Carter Fox: The value is really getting outside of the bubble, the researcher bubble.

Cathy Milostan: It’s been a great opportunity to learn how to talk to customers, so you get an early read on what the market really wants for your product.

Ed Silva: Oftentimes people focus on what the challenge is and the solution, and forget a lot about the end user, the “who.” So I think this process has given me the skills to really focus on the “who.” That allows me in any kind of challenge, project, program going forward in my career, to really give me more insight, I think, than other peers who maybe haven’t had the same training.

Jon Winkler: I just think all the learnings that, you know, that we’re going to walk away with here are really going to be valuable. Not just from whether our idea actually forms a startup and moves on, but just in terms of proposing new ideas and thinking about how our research can make it in the market, I think is invaluable learning.