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Department of Energy to fund renewable energy projects that feature university students

Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a clean energy initiative that will award grants for entrepreneurial projects by university students.

Officially titled the National University Clean Energy Business Challenge, it would provide up $2.1 million in funding to six teams representing six regions across the U.S. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, with a stated mission of reducing U.S. reliance on foreign oil and increasing funding for alternative energy, will facilitate the prizes.

In a press release, Dept. of Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu was quoted as saying, ”Fostering innovation at America’s universities and producing our nation’s next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs is vital to ensuring our nation’s competiveness in the clean energy economy of tomorrow.

“This investment will train a new generation of scientific and technical leaders and support the Administration’s continued effort to ensure that America has the workforce we need to secure our energy future, create jobs here at home, and win the future.”

All levels of university students are eligible and any student team can apply. Awarded competitions must include and enforce a criterion for competitor eligibility stating that in order to participate in the proposed regional competition; at least 50 percent of any participating team’s “formal team members” must be actively enrolled in an accredited U.S. university or college.

“The goal of this initiative is to foster innovation at America’s universities in order to produce our nation’s next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs to ensure our nation’s competiveness in the clean energy economy of tomorrow,” wrote DOE public affairs official Joelle Terry. “This investment will train a new generation of scientific and technical leaders and support the Administration’s continued effort to ensure that America has the workforce we need to secure our energy future, create jobs here at home, and win the future.”

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