National Lab Support to Create Energy, Advanced Manufacturing, and Integrated Grid Companies

Innovation Crossroads is a fellowship program based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory 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 seven entrepreneurs will be selected to transform their ideas into energy, advanced manufacturing, and integrated grid companies with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Innovators will receive a fellowship that includes a personal living stipend, benefits, and travel allowance for up to two years, plus substantial funding to use on collaborative research and development at ORNL.

What You Get

  • A two-year fellowship – Includes a personal living stipend of up to $90,000/year depending on education and experience, along with health insurance and travel allowance
  • Lab access and research funding – In addition to unparalleled access to facilities, equipment, and expertise at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, fellows receive $200,000 of R&D funding to support collaboration opportunities with researchers across the lab.
  • Business mentors, entrepreneurial training, and networking – Participants receive access to experienced business mentors, entrepreneurial training programs, and exclusive networking opportunities. Innovators are also exposed to a wide range of leaders from academia, industry, government, and finance that can serve as advisors and partners.

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 the Department of Energy (DOE) or Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) mission
  • Must be wiling to relocate to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge area
  • Must be a US citizen or lawful permanent resident at the time of application

Key Dates

  • September 6, 2018: Cohort 3 Applications Open
  • October 29, 2018: Cohort 3 Applications Close
  • May 2019: Cohort 3 Onboarding


  • 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