National Lab Support to Create Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Companies

Innovation Crossroads is a new program based at ORNL that matches aspiring energy entrepreneurs with the experts, mentors, and networks in technology-related fields to take their world-changing ideas from R&D to the marketplace.

Through an annual call, up to five entrepreneurs will be selected to transform their ideas into energy and advanced manufacturing companies with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. Innovators will receive a fellowship that covers living costs, benefits and a travel stipend for up to two years, plus substantial funding to use on collaborative research and development at ORNL.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must have PhD or equivalent experience
  • Must be focused on energy or manufacturing innovation
  • Must leverage ORNL R&D capabilities and have an impact on Department of Energy missions
  • Must be willing to relocate to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge area
  • Must be US citizen or lawful permanent resident at time of application

Key Dates

  • August 9, 2018: Cohort 3 Informational Webinar
  • September 6, 2018: Cohort 3 Applications Open
  • September 6, 2018: Cohort 3 Informational Webinar
  • October 4, 2018: Cohort 3 Informational Webinar
  • October 29, 2018: Cohort 3 Applications Close
  • May 2019: Cohort 3 Onboarding


  • Fellowship stipend for up to two years, including travel and health benefits
  • R&D funding support to be used in collaboration with ORNL researchers
  • Business mentorship, entrepreneurial training, and introductions to potential customers, partners, and investors


  • Business Model Development and Quarterly Advisory Board meetings
  • Participation in Energy Mentor Network
  • Entrepreneurial Speaker Series
  • Grant-writing support and SBIR matching program through LaunchTN
  • Introductions to potential customers, partners, investors
  • Legal assistance through University of Tennessee College of Law
  • Quarterly legal webinars
  • Market research team support from University of Tennessee Bredesen Center
  • First Tuesday social gatherings