Department of Energy

Department of Energy Wants National Labs to Steer Regional Innovation

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With the intent for local communities to benefit from the research of national labs of energy departments, the Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking proposals to boost place-based innovation.

A request for information dated Jan 27 describes DOE is gathering insights on how regional frameworks can take advantage of the national laboratory network to stimulate the next wave of American innovation and economic prosperity, stated officials in the announcement.

Innovation fabrics have traditionally prospered along the West and East Coasts and are characterized by educated personnel, business and residential infrastructure, and access to capital and ample research. These regions, such as Boston and San Francisco also have tech-friendly government policies that support public-private partnerships and new businesses as well as robust entrepreneurial social networks.

Department of Energy has 17 national labs spread across the country. While four are in California Bay Area, others are located in non-traditional technology regions such as Morgantown, West Virginia; Upton, New York; Ames, Iowa, Newport News, Virginia; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and Albany, Oregon.

By creating place-based innovation ecosystems held by national labs, the Department of Energy aims to augment the potential for economic development by providing mission-related research that can be locally commercialized. Advancing manufacturing and clean energy technologies, cleaning up nuclear waste and creating a technically skilled, highly paid workforce, and supporting national security are some areas of interest of DOE.

DOE wants to learn from regional representatives about potential new undertakings that support the department’s vision, as well as current ongoing pursuits that would benefit from additional support. It also wants to learn about characteristics that make a region favorable for place-based innovation as well as associated existing and potential innovation activities.

Edward Turner

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