Chain Reaction Innovations Team Recognized by UChicago Board of Governors

Chain Reaction Innovations’ (CRI) leadership team was recently recognized by the UChicago Argonne Board of Governors with a Distinguished Performance Award.

The Award is given annually to honor lab achievements and celebrate their impact, thereby strengthening the core values of Argonne National Laboratory.

The Distinguished Performance Award recognizes the CRI Team for “a specific outstanding achievement or a distinguished record of such achievements by an employee of the laboratory in the areas of basic and applied science and engineering.”

“I know I speak for the whole team when I express our tremendous gratitude for the award,” said John Carlisle, CRI’s Director. “While this is a great honor for the team, it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of many internal and external stakeholders both within Argonne and in our ecosystem.”

About CRI

CRI is a two-year fellowship program for innovators focused on clean energy and science technologies. Each year through a national process, five to six fellows are selected to join CRI. These innovators are embedded at Argonne to de-risk and mature their early-stage startups. The goal is to accelerate innovative clean energy solutions and bring them to market.

Each startup works with an Argonne researcher who is the principal investigator (PI). To date, 21 researchers have offered mentorship and support to CRI’s startups, including one who’s participated three times. The pairing of fellows with a host Argonne PI is a key aspect. Not only do the innovators gain the perspective of an expert in their particular field, but in many instances, the host PIs benefit as well.


Since its inception in 2016, CRI has admitted 28 fellows with high-impact startups. As a result of CRI’s mentorship and support, the innovators have created 282 jobs to date and raised $170 million in follow-on funding.

Funders who’ve supported CRI startups include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a public-private non-profit founded by Bill Gates, as well as John Deere. Funders also include a wide range of industry-specific venture capital firms.


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