Connecting state and local government leaders
DOE is looking for ideas on how regional ecosystems could leverage a nearby national lab to power innovation and economic prosperity.
To ensure local communities benefit from research coming from the Energy Department’s national labs, DOE is looking for ideas to spur place-based innovation.
In a Jan. 27 request for information, DOE is asking for insights on how regional ecosystems can leverage the national laboratory system to “power the next wave of American innovation and economic prosperity,” officials said in the announcement.
Innovation ecosystems have traditionally grown up along the East and West Coasts and are characterized by an educated workforce, access to capital and ample research, business and residential infrastructure. These regions, like San Francisco and Boston, also have tech-friendly government policies that support new businesses and public-private partnerships as well as robust entrepreneurial social networks.
DOE has 17 national labs across the country. Four are in the California Bay Area, but others are located in non-traditional tech regions, such as Upton, New York; Newport News, Virginia; Morgantown, West Virginia; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Ames, Iowa; and Albany, Oregon.
By developing place-based innovation ecosystems anchored by national labs, DOE aims to expand potential for economic development by providing mission-related research that can be locally commercialized. Areas of interest include advancing manufacturing and clean energy technologies, supporting national security, cleaning up nuclear waste and developing a technically skilled, highly paid workforce in new industries.
DOE wants to hear from regional representatives about potential new activities that support the department’s mission, as well as ongoing activities that would benefit from additional support. It also wants to know about characteristics that make a region ripe for place-based innovation as well as its existing and potential innovation activities.
"Place-based innovation initiatives are key to the success of DOE’s mission going forward," DOE Under Secretary for Science and Innovation Geraldine Richmond said in a statement. "DOE National Labs are catalysts to make sure the benefits of the new energy economy reach all corners of the nation so that communities can thrive."
Responses to this RFI are due March 28.