Call for Cohort 5 Applications

Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI), the entrepreneurship program at Argonne National Laboratory, will begin accepting applications on September 15 for cohort 5. Entrepreneurs in any technology area that can leverage Argonne’s resources in partnership with the Advanced Manufacturing Office of the Department of Energy (DOE) are encouraged to pre-apply here.

Technologies that fall into Argonne’s areas of excellence include advanced materials, catalysis, transportation and nanotechnology.

Cohort 3 member, Katie Kolllhoff, CEO of NUMiX Materials, presents during the final selection round.

The CRI Program supports the next generation of energy entrepreneurs to move their innovations to market. A new cohort is selected each year through an annual call for applications. This year, the application will open on September 15, 2020 and run though 5 p.m. Central Standard Daylight Time on October 31, 2020. Those chosen for cohort 5 will begin work on their projects in June 2021.

“We encourage entrepreneurs who’d like to bring their sustainable tech ideas to market to apply for cohort 5,”’ says Adria Wilson, CRI’s Entrepreneurial Lead. “Our innovators get the benefit of working at a national lab and are paired with an Argonne scientist to help develop their technology. This year, we are especially interested in innovators with diverse backgrounds who have great ideas.”

To pre-apply, visit

About CRI

CRI is a program for innovators focusing on energy and science technologies. Four to six teams/individuals are selected to join CRI each year. Program participants receive the financial and technical support needed to perform early-stage research and development (R&D) with the goal to launch energy or manufacturing businesses.

The 2-year elite program teaches the best and brightest from across the nation the entrepreneurship skills needed to develop transformative clean tech and innovations in advanced manufacturing.

“This year, more than other years, it’s critically important to foster innovation,” says John Carlisle, CRI’s director. “As they progress through the program, our cohorts generate jobs through investments and expansion,” he points out. “Not only do they create change with their technologies, they also have an immediate economic impact.” To date CRI cohorts have raised nearly $20 million while creating 81 jobs.

Cohort Benefits

CRI offers teams of innovators a two-year runway to develop and scale their technologies while being supported through fellowship funding that covers salary, benefits, use of laboratory equipment and office space. Through a partnership with mentor organizations, cohort members get assistance developing business strategies, conducting market research, and finding long-term financing and potential commercial partners. Each innovator partners with an Argonne scientist who serves as the Principal Investigator, supporting the innovator’s R & D within the laboratory. Learn more about the program’s benefits here.

CRI will host a series of four informational webinars in August, September and October for interested applicants to learn specifics about the program. If selected, innovators receive salary, benefits, travel expenses and $220,000 in support of technical work at Argonne.

CRI is hosting a series of webinars on the benefits of being an entrepreneur in the program.

Informational Webinars

Wednesday, August 26, 2 p.m. Central Standard Time

Tuesday, September 22, 11:30 a.m. Central Standard Time

Thursday, October 8, 3 p.m. Central Standard Time

Thursday, October 22, 10 a.m. Central Standard Time

Register here

CRI Partners

Argonne’s Chain Reaction Innovations program, which is under Argonne National Lab’s Science and Technology Partnerships Outreach directorate, is funded by The Advanced Manufacturing Office within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

CRI is part of the Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). EERE created the Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs to provide an institutional home for innovative postdoctoral researchers to build their research into products and train to be entrepreneurs.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy supports early-stage research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to strengthen U.S. economic growth, energy security, and environmental quality.

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