Having spent a summer working for the US EPA during my undergrad, I was somewhat reluctant to even consider working within the burearocracy that is the government, but after a series of conversations with the team leaders, it became clear to me that NREL is currently undergoing (or at least striving to) a serious internal transformation to focus on investing in research that has immediate and near term market implications. While the federal stimulus package has created a tremendous pool of money to draw from, it has also (for the first time, certainly in the last 10 years) created a competitive environment within the existing national lab environment where funds are up for grabs. NREL now has to a) prove its creating value and b) having an impact within the market in the way it uses its funds and delivers upon its DOE tasks.
That's where I come in (and a team of nearly a dozen MBA students from CU, Stanford, Harvard and MIT) who are working with the TTO & C to:
- understand NREL's research and development capabilities and identify its key differentiators;
- forecast market trends and energy research needs;
- align future NREL investment in renewable energy sectors with capital markets (and other barriers to adoption/implementation);
- capture past and existing success stories (where NREL has either developed IP, licensed it, accelerated the development of a cleantech company and/or led a public-private partnership which results in technology commercialization and impact).