U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Energy Education & Workforce Development – EERE Postdoctoral Research Awards

Research Proposals

The EERE Postdoctoral Research Awards are intended to be an avenue for significant energy efficiency and renewable energy innovation. To enable the participant's creativity as they conduct their postdoctoral research, the Research Awards have been designed to follow the "Innovation Time Out" model so that participants allot roughly 80% of their time to their core project research tasks and 20% of their time to "innovation" projects that build new pathways to solving energy efficiency and renewable energy problems.

Core Research Project ("80% Time")

This is a traditional EERE research and development project that targets a topic of interest identified by the EERE Program sponsoring the Research Award. The proposal must be specific for the research topic listed in the application and should be sufficiently complete for outside peer review. The proposal must include the following elements:

  • Title
  • Statement of Problem
  • Background and Relevance to Previous Work
  • General Methodology and Procedure
  • Explanation of New or Unusual Techniques
  • Significance and Application of Research
  • Milestones (use the Template of MilestonesMicrosoft Excel)
  • Literature Citations including authors, year of publication, title, full name of journal volume number and page numbers

The maximum length is five pages, including all listed elements except the Milestones. The Milestones should be submitted using the template provided. Proposal should be double-spaced using a 12-point font.

Innovation Projects ("20% Time")

The 80/20 Innovation Time-Out approach is intended to give participants an opportunity to develop projects related to energy efficiency and renewable energy about which they are passionate and can take ownership. One company that has had significant success with this approach is Google, where several of its current products (e.g., Google Suggest, AdSense for Content, and Orkut) were begun during its engineers' 20% Innovation Time.

Innovation Projects will ideally show that participants have breadth in their interests, interdisciplinary approaches, interest in commercialization of their discoveries, entrepreneurial spirit, and/or ability to engage a range of audiences on energy efficiency and renewable energy issues. Applicants should strongly consider pursuing projects that could lead to work they would be interested in continuing post-Award.

Some suggestions for potentially interesting Innovation Projects:

  • Pursuing collaborations with faculty in other disciplines to bring synergistic approaches to solving a mutual research problem
  • Writing a new grant proposal on work distinct from the participant's mentor for post-Award work on a topic of interest to the participant
  • Working with local organizations on topics of local energy efficiency or renewable energy relevance (e.g., advising city buildings and electrical boards of codes and standards on state of the art technology)
  • Providing free scientific expertise to a local start-up company or exploring spinning out a new start-up company

As part of the Research Proposal, an applicant must provide a write-up for an initial idea(s) for using their 20% Time.

  • Description of Idea(s) for Innovation Project(s) and Relevance to EERE
  • Timeline
  • Success evaluation: How will you judge if your project is successful? What benchmark will demonstrate interim progress toward that success?
  • Literature Citations (if applicable) including authors, year of publication, title, full name of journal volume number and page numbers

Maximum length is one page, including figures and citations; double-spaced; 12-point font.