Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize: January Participant Webinar

Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize: January Participant Webinar

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>>Brittany: All right. I think we can go ahead and get started. Welcome everybody to today’s Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize participant webinar. We’re super eager to have you here with us today.

Just to give you guys an idea of some webinar logistics everybody is joined in listen only mode. If you could please keep your mics muted throughout the presentation that would be great. Also if you run into any audio issues you can try connecting over your phone and if that doesn’t work please try visiting the Zoom help center webpage to see if you can try troubleshooting there. And if you have any questions come up during the presentation please feel free to just drop them in the chat and we will circle back to them at the end of today’s webinar.

And then just an overview of what we’ll be covering today. We’ll give some context of the Justice 40 initiative and how the US Department of Energy is working towards that initiative and how the inclusive energy innovative prize really fits into that initiative. And then we’ll also give an overview of the prize itself, what to expect for submission packages, scoring and things like that.

And then also just an overview of the American Made Challenges Network and then some next steps for you all. And then we’ll open it up for Q&A. So with that I will turn it over to Rukmani to kick it off and get us started.

>>Rukmani: Thanks Brittany. Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us. My name is Rukmani Vigayarahavan and I work in the Department of Energy’s Water Technologies Office. The Department of Energy and the Biden Administration are working to address climate change.

And one of our goals is to reduce the economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and to have a net zero emissions economy no later than 2050. In addition to these emissions goals the Biden administration also launched the Justice 40 initiative which aims to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of federal investments in clean energy and climate are to disadvantaged communities. So to accomplish these two goals what we at DOE will do is a combination of – is support a combination of innovative solutions as well as accelerate the technological advancements needed and the deployment of clean energy and climate technologies.

And key considerations to these goals are environmental and climate justice issues. Next slide please. So to enable the decarbonization of our economy and to implement the Justice 40 initiative we at DOE have launched a number of initiatives. The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize is supported by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy as well as the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at DOE.

And the goal of this prize is to enable an inclusive and just entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem in climate and clean energy technology. For those who are not familiar with DOE we fund research development demonstration activities as well as commercialization and climate technology and clean energy. We work with 17 national laboratories and we use a variety of different funding processes and mechanisms to do this. We also support building and sustaining an innovation ecosystem for climate and for energy technologies. This includes supporting early career and workforce development entrepreneurial programs and providing a number of resources for individuals and organizations as well as communities. Specifically the EERE which is the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy we support research development and commercialization of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity aims to ensure that everyone is afforded an opportunity to fully participate in DOE programs.

Next slide please. So now moving on to what the prize is. The most important take away from today’s webinar we hope is please read the rules. The official rules are linked to on this slide as well as I believe one of my colleagues will post a link to the rules in the chat window. The rules document includes very comprehensive list of exactly what we are looking for at DOE, exactly what we hope to support and a very thorough description of what review criteria we will use to determine the winners of the prize.

Next slide please. And now I’m going to hand it over to my colleague Becca who will go over the next part of the presentation. >>Becca: Great. Thank you Rukmani.

So I’m Becca Szymkowicz. I’m a contractor supporting the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE. So to support both DOE’s climate and justice goals the department is looking to make clean energy, the clean energy innovation ecosystem more inclusive and equitable and to improve accessibility to groups underrepresented in STEM. So through this prize DOE is hoping to address barriers to accessing government funding and support as well as build meaningful relationship with communities. So this prize is specifically looking to enable and enhance business and technology incubation, acceleration and other community based and university based entrepreneurship and innovation in climate and clean energy technologies by identifying and supporting community centric organizations that have experience in successful community engagement, environmental, climate and energy justice organizations that have strong community ties, organizations that can bridge gaps between DOE and disadvantaged communities and grassroots innovation in climate and clean energy technologies that will be impactful for disadvantaged communities.

Next slide please. As we’ve mentioned the term disadvantaged community a couple of times. So this prize is seeking to address barriers impacting disadvantaged communities. For clarity when we refer to disadvantaged communities we are using the definition established in interim Justice 40 implementation guidance issued by OMB in July 2021. So this document, that document defines disadvantaged as a combination of variables that may include but are not limited to the following, low income, high and/or persistent poverty, high unemployment and underemployment, racial and ethnic segregation particularly where the segregation stems from discrimination by government entities, linguistic isolation, high housing cost burden and substandard housing, distressed neighborhoods, high transportation cost burden and/or low transportation access, a disproportionate environmental stressor burden and high cumulative impacts, limited water and sanitation access and affordability, disproportionate impacts from climate change, high energy cost burden and low energy access, jobs lost to the energy transition and access to healthcare.

Next slide please. So the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize aims to achieve the five goals you see here which are enabling clean energy and climate innovation, entrepreneurship programming and capabilities at colleges and universities that serve large populations of students underrepresented in STEM, minority serving institutions, community colleges and undergraduate institutions, create or increase participation in clean energy and climate smart job training and job placement or hiring including programs that target participation from disadvantaged communities. This can include formerly incarcerated individuals as well as youth transitioning out of foster care.

The prize hopes to foster grass roots innovation related to just and equitable clean energy deployment through community centric activities that are driven by the needs of the communities involved, identify and fund activities that help disadvantaged communities become aware of, apply into or otherwise secure DOE or other federal, state or local government or private funding and enable the development of replicable clean energy transitions that deliver just and equitable benefits to disadvantaged communities. And with that I will hand it over to my colleague Ashley Brooks. >>Ashley: Thanks Becca. Hi everyone. I’m Ashley Brooks from the Diversity. Equity and Inclusion at the Water Power Technologies Office here at DOE.

So looking at key dates for the prize the one I want you to focus on today is that phase one submission closes on February 25th at 5:00 PM Eastern. As you know we’re currently in phase one. It’s been open since September 30th.

We anticipate to announce phase one winners in March shortly after closing the prize. Phase two will then open in March of 2023, one year from when the phase one winners are announced. Next slide please.

And so looking at phase one this is the part where we invite teams to submit their narratives and impact plans and that describe proposed activities that align with the goals of the prize that Becca discussed. From there up to ten winning teams will be selected to receive $200,000.00 each in order to carry out those activities that you’ve described in your impact plan. Along with the $200,000.00 winning teams will also receive in kind

mentorship as well as other support services during the 12 month period following the winner announcements. Looking at phase two, again this starts one year after the winners are announced for the phase one prize. And really during phase two it’s open to only phase one winners and where you’ll compete for a bonus prize for up to $500,000.00 based on those activities again that you’ve described in your impact plan. I just want to reiterate what the prizes are.

Again for phase one up to ten cash prizes of $200,000.00 each as well as in kind mentorship services and other support services as well. Looking at phase two, up to three awards totaling $500,000.00 selected based on your performance during phase one. This leads up to a total prize pool of $2.5 million.

Next slide please. Looking at eligibility of the competitors as Becca stated we’re really aiming to build a community of individuals, groups and organizations, really promoting new ideas and incubation acceleration as well as community based innovation services. Again our goal is to really help enable a more just and equitable transition to a clean energy economy.

Competitors it’s open to private entities, for profits and nonprofits, nonfederal government entities such as states, counties, tribal nations and municipalities, academic institutions as well as individuals. As Rukmani said we’re really looking at you – the best advice we can give as far as eligibility is to really look through the rules document in its entirety to make sure you’re eligible for the prize. Next slide please.

I’m going to pass it over to my colleague Rukmani to go over the submission package. Thank you. >>Rukmani: Thanks Ashley. So the submission package for this prize is pretty straightforward. What we are looking for is a single cover page, a summary slide, a three minute video page and an impact plan.

The cover page, summary slide and the video will be made public but we will only score the video page and the impact plan. The impact plan should not exceed more than 2,500 words. Next slide please. So this is more detailed on what these different components involve. The cover page should have some basic information on the submission including the title, the team, a short description of the project, any partners, etcetera. The summary slide itself should be a public facing summary of the submission so if there is any sensitive information that you would like to not be made public do not include that here.

The information used in this will be made publicly available to all teams and spectators. We would also like to see, review a three minute video pitch. This is meant to be an engaging video that helps the reviewers as well as the public understand your organization and your planned activities. And what we are also looking for is a concise summary of your experience in working with disadvantaged communities, what your planned activities are and the anticipated impact of your work. For the video pitch itself we are not necessarily looking for slick and highly produced videos.

We are looking for content that is engaging and straightforward. For the impact plan we are – sorry. I misspoke earlier. We are looking for an impact plan that does not exceed 5,000 words. The plan itself should describe who your team or organization are, what your planned activities, your resources, capabilities and the anticipated impacts. And we will go into more detail on what those entail in a couple of minutes.

We will not review any information in hyperlinks or external for this. Next slide please. So if you want to understand what we at DOE and at NREL are really looking for hopefully this slide which is also information that is included in the rules document will help clarify our intentions. So what we are looking for are narratives that successfully demonstrate that the team or organization who is applying has the capability to implement the programs that achieve one or more of the five goals of the prize that Becca described earlier on.

Our aim with this prize is that the $200,000.00 prize pool will enable organizations to fund activities that approximately, that can be carried out by approximately one full time employed person and these activities include engaging with disadvantaged communities, building relationships through workshops and events, providing technical support, facilitating connections with experts and academic institutions. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list nor are all of these activities expected to be carried out. But these are examples of the kinds of activities that we are interested in. But we do encourage organizations to think creatively about specific activities that play to their strengths and serve their communities.

We also want to emphasize that successful organizations will not necessarily need to have experience in “deep technology’ development and support or necessarily have to be embedded or be part of large research institutions. What we are hoping to do is identify and support those organizations that really are community centric, have experience engaging disadvantaged communities and really in promoting environmental, climate and/or energy justice. So we are hoping that successful organizations will demonstrate these strong community types and we hope that they will be able to serve as bridges between DOE and the types of communities and organizations that DOE has not necessarily been successful in reaching and engaging. We are – we’re hoping to support the clean, grassroots innovation related to clean energy and technology advancements from disciplines beyond traditional science and engineering which are – which have largely been the focus of clean energy technology development today. So this could include process innovations as well. Next slide please.

So I’ll quickly go over what our scoring criteria are but we strongly encourage everyone applying for the prize to read these thoroughly in the rules document. Next slide. So we use a scale of one through six to score a number of different statements that are described in a couple of minutes in this presentation with a score of one denoting strongly disagree and a score of six meaning strongly agree. So there are four criteria that we will use to evaluate the submissions by. This includes the video pitch and the impact plan. The four criteria are experience in engaging and supporting disadvantaged communities, the proposed activities of the organization or the team during phase one of the prize, the resources and capabilities of the organization to execute the goals of the prize and the organization’s vision and long term impact.

So each of these criteria has a number of different core statements and each of those statements will be scored on a scale of one to six by a team of expert reviewers. And so these points will be added up for a total maximum number of points of 132. So each application will be scored by a review panel scored from, scored for up to 132 points and then based, and then we will make recommendations based on the highest scoring applications. Next slide please. So this is an example of one of our four criteria on what the four scoring statements are.

I will not go over all of the suggested content and the statements but this is meant to be an example. This is again all described in the rules document that we encourage you to read. So for instance criterion one is experience in engaging and supporting disadvantaged communities. As you can see in the column on the right there are four scoring statements which are each, which will each be scored on a scale of one to six.

These are the competitor has demonstrated that they have experience in successfully working with disadvantaged communities. They have a history of successfully engaging communities and so on and so forth. And the column on the left incudes some suggested content that we provide for you that we think would be, would help answer the statements on the right. Again you do not necessarily have to provide this content but if you are able to fully address the content on the right you will be able to score competitively.

Next slide please. So the second criteria are proposed activities during phase one of the prize. Again this involves how well the organization and the team plan to meet the five goals of the prize as well as how their activities can increase participation in clean energy from underserved communities and so on. The next criteria is – next slide please.

Is the team, is if the team has the resources and the capabilities to execute the prize goals. Again there are four statements for this criteria. And then the final criteria which is the – next slide please – the long term vision of the team. Again it includes four scoring statements and again suggested content. Next slide please.

So now I’m going to transfer it to my colleague Jenny who will go over American Made Challenges. >>Jenny: Thanks Rukmani. I will just quickly familiarize you all with the platforms that we’re using for this along with the available support for competitors to ensure that you’re able to be successful both in the proposal development process and in the execution should you move on to phase two.

So next slide. So American Made Challenges as a grant has been a DOE funded program that is intended to support engagement in clean energy and energy efficiency. Since the launch of this program there have been quite a few different prizes that have come out of EERE that are focused on different technology areas really trying to leverage prize mechanisms as an accessible funding way or an accessible funding mechanism for communities that have not necessarily engaged with the Department of Energy before to ensure that we’re really lowering the barrier to entry, engaging those that are new to the DOE groups and that were really trying to help improve the timeline at which we’re able to actually distribute that funding and enable people to act on what they plan to.

The intention of prizes in general is to engage with broader industry, provide additional support mechanisms that we may not be able to provide through other mechanisms that DOE offers for funding and then really provides mentorship and training and connections that I’ll talk about in just a second to make sure that we’re achieving goals both of this prize and then of EERE more generally. Next slide. In terms of the platforms that we’re using for this you may all have already seen the American Made Challenge’s website here. The intention of this website is really to provide you some high level information about what are goals are of the prize and some of the mechanisms that are available to you. So on this page you’ll see the high level overview video and then a link to the HeroX page which is where the majority of the activity will take place. Next slide.

And then on the HeroX page here this is where you’ll actually engage with a lot of the community. This is probably where you found out about this webinar that you’re attending today, build your teams, put together your submission and everything else that you’ll need to do. So to actually put through a submission you’ll need to register for an account on HeroX, pull together all of the materials that you’ll need to actually submit your application. And once you go through the solve the challenge button here and actually start the application process it will not allow you to submit it until you’ve submitted all of the required materials. The resources tab is where you’ll find the rules document that Rukmani was talking about a little bit earlier. And you will also find the application templates that you’ll need to be able to put together the materials.

And those are really just intended to help you pull together a submission in the format that would be the easiest for you. The additional tabs that are outlined on here are ways that you can engage both with us and then with the broader prize community to make sure that you’re able to build the team, find other representatives that might be able to supplement your team either from within your region or from a different region who might provide some other expertise that can help you pull together a quality submission. If you have questions for us just make sure to reach out to us on the forum. And that’s one tab that I just wanted to point out.

We have team members who are actively monitoring that and are able to answer questions for you if you’re not able to find the answer either in the rules document or in the frequently asked questions tab. Next slide. And now in terms of some of the support mechanisms that we’re offering to competitors there are two specific ways that we are trying to provide some of this additional support. Initially we’re offering the connector network. And you can see the link right here on this page. It’s under the page.

If you just go to /network or you click on the network tab when you get there you can look through all of the 200 plus organizations that are listed there and reach out to any of them if they seem like they would be a fit for you to really provide either direct one on one mentorship or application support for either reviewing materials that you’ve already put together or helping you to make sure that what you’re putting together is a quality submission. Because these connectors are not directly paid by us up front their specific interest is in making sure that you succeed. Only those competitors that both are selected as winners in phase one and are and mention the organization that they’ve worked with will receive that financial support from us. So we are more than happy to pay for any support that’s provided but their interest is making sure that you succeed so please leverage them as much as you’d like to. And then the power connectors are additional organizations who are under contract with this organizing team that you’ve been talking to today. Several of them may be on the phone as they’ve been participating in some of our webinars as well.

But their role is really to provide additional training sessions that are supposed to supplement your understanding of both what we’re looking for as the prize administration team, training sessions that might help to supplement some of the knowledge that you need to be able to pull together a quality submission, offer additional office hours or feedback on the application that you’re pulling together and a list of those specific events, the direct contact information for each of those organizations and then the services that each of those groups are intending to offer are all available and listed on the HeroX platform. So please leverage them as a source of support for all of you as well. They are all here to help in the same way that the connector network is too. So make sure that you’re getting in touch with them and leveraging as often as possible. Thanks.

All right. And then just in terms of the next steps that you all need to take. Thanks Brittany. Initially just putting together a HeroX account if you haven’t done that already and making sure that you’re following the challenge so you’re able to hear updates from us and are aware of any changes or any new information that you need to know, developing your own ideas, making sure that this is ready to go and you can actually put this together in your impact plan that can be submitted to us. As I just mentioned reach out to the competitor support networks to make sure that you’re pulling together the highest quality submission that you can, create your video and then make sure that you submit your idea no later than our deadline of February 25th. And I think that might be the end of the deck here.

So now the rest of the team are here to answer any questions that we haven’t already been able to get to on the chat. So please feel free to put any questions that you have in the chat and we’re happy to help however we can. Annie to answer your question about the list of the power connector resources, that is on the updates tab of the HeroX page. So if you just look at one of the most recent updates that we posted there it includes the list of the contact information, links to any other upcoming events that we have that are available. Thanks Amanda.

And Jake to answer you as well that’s also available on that link that Amanda has provided. >>Rukmani: We have a question on how are you measuring diversity in the selection process. So again that would include reading the rules and the specific scoring criteria on how we measure impacts.

Sorry. On how we would specifically score your activities including engagement with disadvantaged communities. There was a question on which is more important, the application comes from a disadvantaged source of a beneficiaries or members of disadvantaged communities. Again we would encourage you to read the rules document. At this point we do not – this is not an either or question. We do want to support disadvantaged communities and ensure that clean energy investments benefit these communities so that is our primary goal.

Question on is it possible to partner with another organization with a larger experience working with disadvantaged communities? Yes. We definitely encourage partnerships if they strengthen your application or if they strengthen your idea and you’re able to access, able to work with people and teams with different sets of expertise. That is definitely something we encourage. Another question on your register under the platform. How important is it that I get my team to interact there with respect to the actual application and scoring criteria? So the platform itself is where you would – I’m assuming you mean the HeroX platform. The HeroX platform is where you would submit the final prize package with includes the impact plan and the video.

In principle there is no need for more than one person on a team to be on the platform but we encourage everyone on your team to read the rules such as the PDF document so that can be downloaded and shared to the rest of your team, whatever works for you. And in – but we definitely encourage you to keep track of the updates that regularly post important information like webinar recordings, power connector updates and any other information. So we encourage every team at least one person on each team to keep track of the updates on the HeroX page. Another question on are there exclusions for the use of the prize money such as for capital costs. So with our prizes, with our prize funds there are no restrictions or requirements on how those prize funds are spent. With the prize our goal is that winning teams and organizations will use the prize funds to carry out the activities that they have described but this is not like a grant or a contract.

Our teams are free to spend them as they wish. A question on can a person be on more than one team or can a team submit more than one project. Yes to both. Are funded projects eligible? I believe so but I would encourage you to read eligibility section of the rules document. In general US based organizations and US citizens are eligible to complete in the prize. There is no restriction on for profit or nonprofit organizations.

Both are eligible. There are some restrictions. Federal agencies are not allowed to participate. But I believe start ups could be, would be eligible.

Can a connector be a partner in an application? So Jenny do you want to answer that? >>Jenny: Yeah. So a connector can be a partner on the application but that would make them ineligible for receiving connector rewards. So they just need to decide if they would like to act as a connector for the prize or if they would like to be a partner with you on your application specifically.

>>Rukmani: Thank you. There’s a question on independent investors being considered a disadvantaged group if there are funding sources to advance their concepts. So our definition of a disadvantaged community is the White House Office of Management and Budget definition of disadvantaged communities as it relates to the Justice 40 initiative which is, which we described earlier in this presentation and who’s documents and that is [Crosstalk] definition that we are using. And yes, there is a question on the winning projects all receive the same amount, correct? Yes.

All winning submissions will receive $200,000.00. And the budget justification that we would like to see is how that $200,000.00 would be spent to advance the goal of the prize. What is the size of the organizations? We have no restrictions on the size of organizations, small, large.

We are open to any appropriate organization with a good idea. If there are multiple organizations applying in as a strategic partnership what is the best way to define each one’s role? That is something that we definitely leave up to you. I believe that the specific prize team will be best able to speak to that. But as thoroughly and clearly as you can describe the roles the more it would help the reviewers to understand the effectiveness of your application.

The question on – Jenny do you want to take the next question on connectors? If you work with a connector and you don’t win the prize will you still pay the connector who worked with the company? I believe the answer is no. But Jenny feel free to jump in. >>Jenny: Yeah.

The incentive structure that we’ve set up for phase one in terms of the connectors is that we are just offering the awards for the connectors who support the teams that are selected as winners in phase one. For the winners in phase two however we’ve structured it so that the connectors who – any connector who is providing or essentially performing a significant role for any of the competitors that are executing on their impact plan in phase two, they are eligible to receive just a reduced reward if you’re not selected as a winner. >>Rukmani: The question on the prize funding. Yeah.

So we will have ten prizes at phase one of $200,000.00 each and then bonus prizes, we will have up to three bonus prizes totaling $500,000.00 not $500,000.00 each.

So that’s $2 million plus half a million dollars so that’s $2.5 million. There’s a question on if the community partners are large metropolitan areas does the proposal need to be in a disadvantaged neighborhood level? Again I would encourage you to read the definition of what we, of what disadvantaged communities entail which are not necessarily restricted to large metropolitan areas of neighborhoods. There are a number of different types of communities that can count as disadvantaged communities. Can a portion of the project involve R&D of technologies intended to serve disadvantaged communities? If it makes – the answer is again if it makes sense within the goals of the prize as we described before.

But this is again – but I do want to emphasize that this is not a prize for technology development or for foundational research. We at DOE have a number of different prizes along those lines in different technology areas. This prize is not meant to support specific technology advancements. There’s a question on there is no cost share requirement but are you interested in seeing some kind of cost share. So yes, there is no cost share because this is a prize.

The winning team will get the prize amount. This is not like any other cooperative agreement or contract that DOE runs. But if you, if your organization has access to additional resources that you can leverage and you wanted to – and you want to – and you believe that it strengthens your application then feel free to include that but that is by no means necessary or required.

And I just want to emphasize that a goal of the prize is to support the types of organizations and efforts that don’t necessarily have access to large dollar resources. >>Fidel: I have a question. >>Jenny: Go ahead.

Thank you. >>Fidel: Yeah. I do have an invention.

It’s halfway through patent. It’s a new technology. I developed it for a contest for NASA but I couldn’t get through it due to an insurance thing.

But I did develop a thing. It’s regarding energy how to revolutionize everything regarding electricity for this contest. So can I use it for this? And if I do not proceed to the next step do I have any risk of somebody look at my idea and take advantage of it and claim it as their own afterwards? >>Rukmani: So this prize is not meant for specific technologies.

But we do at EERE which is the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and at the Department of Energy we have a number of different programs. We support small businesses. We support individuals through prizes and through other grants. And we encourage you to review those on the Department of Energy website. We have a number of different solicitations that open throughout the year that are interested in different specific technologies that may be of interest to you. >>Fidel: Is there a way I can get a link for it or I mean a website that I can reach out to them? >>Rukmani: We’d be happy to post a link to the website.

Yeah. To our department, to our website in the chat window. Yes.

I think one of my colleagues will be able to in a minute. Yes. >>Fidel: I thank you very much. >>Rukmani: Yeah.

You’re welcome. And there’s a question on are there events where connector organizations can meet innovators that are looking to apply. I believe again this is likely to get covered in the HeroX updates. But yeah.

Jenny, do you have an answer to that? >>Jenny: Yeah. There are a few upcoming teaming events where you’ll be able to both meat with other organizations who are providing direct support in addition to meeting other teams who may be looking for a specific partner. So I would just encourage you to check out that link that Amanda shared that will take you to that full list of upcoming events. And it will identify both the teaming events as well as the mentorship periods where you can sign up for as well. >>Rukmani: Ok.

There’s a question on no tech research but still an energy objective. Yes, as I mentioned earlier on in the presentation we at the Department of Energy we support our research development and commercialization of energy technology but we also support the larger innovation ecosystem, the people and the communities that would benefit from those technologies. So this prize is part of that process. The question of do we need to have a demonstration partner identified for the application? No. This is again not meant to be a demonstration project or an opportunity. We again encourage you to read the rules to get a sense of exactly the types of activities we’re looking for.

I believe unless you mean a nontechnology demonstration partner. But we encourage you to work with the kinds of partners who you think would best be able to help accomplish the goals of the prize. Are there prior participants who have succeeded in these tracks that are available for us to reference? So this is, this prize itself is a brand new prize at DOE. This is the first time that we have run this prize at DOE. So we are looking for a first cohort of successful participants, prize winners.

And are applicants eligible if they’ve been awarded funding in the past? Yes. There is no restriction on funding either current or former funding to be eligible for this prize. I see someone has their hand up. David if you have a question feel free to type is in the chat window or ask us.

>>David: Yes. This is a very long question so I take a long time to type it in. So we have a product that also is a program that can reduce the CO2 emission and also to increase the energy for a solar farm. So we have many programs that for third world country disadvantaged area and community solar where disadvantaged communities. We are not introducing the technology but we are introducing this program we can do using our product for disadvantaged communities to increase energy and to lower the CO2 emission.

Would that be a good, would this be a good program for that? >>Rukmani: So if your idea or if your technology is based on – I guess if what you’re looking to do is support the technology development again I encourage you – >>David: No, no, no. It’s not a technology development. Our product, the product is there already. We want to bring this product out to disadvantaged communities where they have community solar and also to replace one of the worst polluter is the concrete industry. So we have programs that we identify to go out and use our product to apply to these programs. So can we put this program into this prize or for the funding for that to see if we can get the prize? >>Rukmani: If your program, if you believe your program – again I can’t speak to it without having a full understanding of the specific program.

But if you believe that this is something that accomplished one or more of the goals of the prize that we described earlier on then yeah, I would definitely encourage you to apply. >>David: Yeah. So what I see the goal of this prize is to reduce the climate change by reducing the CO2 gas emission and also to increase energy in the disadvantaged communities.

So our program would address both of that. So I just wanted to get your idea on that. >>Rukmani: Yeah. No.

I understand what you mean. But yeah, again it’s hard for us to make a judgement at this time based on an oral description. But yeah. I mean I wouldn’t say no at this point but yeah. >>David: Ok. Yeah.

I understand. Ok. Thank you very much. >>Rukmani: The question of could you speak more to the Justice 40 impact on this prize. So as I mentioned earlier the Justice 40 initiative aims to ensure that 40 percent of the federal government’s investments in climate and clean energy benefit disadvantaged communities.

And this prize is one mechanism, one of the many opportunities that have both been open and will be open in the coming months and years to ensure that federal government investments benefit disadvantaged communities. The question do disadvantaged applicants have an advantage on this competition. I’m not sure what they is trying to get at but I would encourage you to read the rules to understand exactly the kinds of activities that we are looking to support and the kinds of people and communities that we hope benefit from this prize. Is there a preference for HBCUs to apply for this prize? I wouldn’t say there is a preference for any specific type of organization but we would definitely encourage any organization including HBCUs and other minority serving institutions with the capabilities and with ideas that help us meet the goals of this prize to apply in. Is there a specific size of impact metric you’re looking to have covered? No.

But we would like to see some estimation of what your impact metrics are. There’s a question on is the second stage $500,000.00 will be split for all teams that demonstrate success at that stage? Yes. But for up to three teams, not ten teams. And I believe someone has their hand up so feel free to ask your question. >>Eazaz: Yes.

Hi. Thank you so much for your presentation. I have a quick question for our project because it does have different parts that are going to have different advisors I just wanted to double check that there’s no limitation in terms of the number of advisors. Right? >>Rukmani: So do you mean the number of advisors who will be helping on the project? No. There is no limitation on that.

Yeah. I should clarify. There is no limitation on the size of the team. Yeah. >>Eazaz: Fantastic.

Thank you very much. >>Rukmani: Is there an opportunity for organizations who did not win to help support the prize during the second phase? So at this time yeah, if there are teams that – yeah. This is not something that we at DOE will restrict or require in any way. But if there are teams that did not win or have good ideas and you are interested in partnering with a winning team that is definitely something that you are welcome to do.

This is one reason why we also post the videos and summaries publicly so every team has access to at least a brief overview of what other teams worked on including winning teams and teams that did not win. So again we would always encourage partnerships between people and organizations that have good ideas. But beyond that we do not have a formal process at this point. >>Jenny: And Charles I saw your hand raised. Did you have a question? >>Charles: I’m just trying to figure out when I’m thinking about this prize is this for like a startup – I mean ideally a startup solar company that is working in a disadvantaged community? Is that a good example? Or an environmental justice organization trying to reduce the carbon emissions in a disadvantaged community? Like where do those kind of things lie in your ideology of funding these type of projects? Even though I read the rules I’m still not so clear.

>>Rukmani: Yeah. So this is – to answer your question this is a pretty broad prize and as was said before this is the first time that we are running a prize of this kind. Right? Which is why we would be open to both a for profit organization like a startup who has an interesting idea to support a disadvantaged community or even nonprofits like our organizations like as you said EJ organizations or climate justice organizations that support. So the answer is yes to both. >>Charles: Ok. I’ve got you now.

Yeah. Thank you. >>Rukmani: Yeah. Sure.

And yeah, as Amanda said DOE national labs are not eligible to compete in a prize, national labs as well as national lab employees cannot compete in our prizes. >>Jenny: And I know we just have a couple minutes left. So if anyone has any last questions please feel free to put them in the chat or unmute yourself. But otherwise if you didn’t get your question answered in this webinar we’ll both be posting a recording of this as well as still be available for any of your questions on the forum if you can’t find the responses. >>Rukmani: As a couple of my colleagues have pointed out the recording of this webinar will be posted on the HeroX website. All the information in the slide decks is in the rules document.

There is nothing in here that is new or is not part of the rules document so please read the whole, the entire rules document. A couple of last questions. There’s a question on can federal entities or labs be supporting partners of a team that helped build the ecosystems you are speaking? I believe so but it depends on at what stage their involvement is. They are definitely not allowed to, federal agencies and national labs are definitely not allowed to be partners on the actual prize application itself. But if you have say funding from another federal source that is allowable.

Can the proposal include renewable energy and cost reduction for medical therapies such as cancer treatment that reduces costs and increase access? Again we do not have restrictions on what specific technologies we are interested in. We encourage you to read the rules again, once again to understand the goals of the prize. And can it be used for education outreach? Yes, there is no restriction on how prize funds are spent. There’s a question on stopping the spread of COVID-19 in disadvantaged communities. So we at the Department of Energy and specifically in EERE are, our mission is to support clean energy technology advancement. There are a number of federal agencies including the department of health and human services who have a number of prizes and grants related to COVID-19 that I encourage you to look into.

And yeah, funds are allowed to be used for pitch events and startup awards. Again I want to reemphasize that there is no restriction on what prize funds can be spent on. Canadian partners ok? So the prize is restricted to the prime awardee themselves being a US based entity for the specific eligibilities. But we do not have any restrictions on who your partners can be but with some caveats that I encourage you to read the specific rules on.

And it just is not allowed for investment in startups? I’m not sure what that means. Again this is a prize amount. We literally write a check to the prize winning organization. There are no accounting regulations and so on.

But again if – but this is not meant to be a small business innovation research grant or a technology grant that is specifically meant for technology companies if that helps. And if there are no more questions thank you everyone for participating. Thank you to our connectors and power connectors who were also here today.

The recording will be available in a few days. We also have a recording from the previous webinar that is on HeroX. [End of Audio]

2022-01-28 08:23

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