10/04/2011 07:00:00

Caltech to Create Clean-Energy Business Competition

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected Caltech to create a clean-energy entrepreneurial competition in the western United States. Caltech's winning proposal is one of six that were awarded regionally as part of a three-year, $2 million program to develop competitions that inspire students to come up with innovative business plans involving clean-energy technology.

Caltech, whose award totals $360,000, will lead a consortium of research institutions and business organizations, including UCLA, USC, Chapman University, the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, and OnGreen, Inc., an energy company. Called First Look West (FLoW), the partnership will also include student leaders from college-campus groups, such as eClubs, Net Impact, and Engineers for a Sustainable World. Working with its partners, Caltech will devise and administer the program, which is sponsored by the Resnick Institute for Science, Energy, and Sustainability. The consortium will oversee the western region of the competition, an area that comprises seven states and two territories.

"The Resnick Institute is excited to work with its university partners to foster clean-energy innovation among young scientists in the western United States," says Harry Atwater, director of the Resnick Institute, and the Howard Hughes Professor and professor of applied physics and materials science.

The competition builds on First Look LA (FLLA), a program organized by Caltech, USC, and UCLA that has been showcasing research and innovation to investors for five years. Caltech's Office of Technology Transfer worked closely with the Resnick Institute to secure the award.

The regional contests will be completed by May 1, 2012. Regional winners, selected by a panel of judges, will each receive $100,000 from the DOE and a chance to compete for a National Grand Prize in the final competition held at the DOE in Washington, D.C. in early summer 2012.

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Written by Marcus Woo