Regional Energy Technology Innovation Ecosystems Characterization Assessments

Funding Agency:
Department of Energy


There is a strong linkage between innovation and economic growth.  The 2016 Economic Report of the President notes that one-half of the growth in productivity between 1948 and 2014 came from improvements in total factor productivity associated with innovation.  Public investment has been a major factor in supporting this innovation, including that related to innovation in energy technologies.  The American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC) noted that: “Public investment is critical to generating the discoveries and inventions that form the basis of disruptive energy technologies. Private companies cannot capture the full economy-wide value of new knowledge and thus systematically underinvest in research and development relative to the benefits it produces.”[1]


The purpose of this funding opportunity is to fund analytic studies that assess the possibilities and challenges associated with developing a multi-state region’s energy innovation ecosystem to meet the energy needs and opportunities of that region.  These innovation ecosystems often include innovation clusters at the scale of a metropolitan area from a core group of research universities or companies.  These innovation clusters are typically driven by the interaction of early stage technology ideas or firms with financing and related companies in a geographically concentrated area that has an enabling environment (e.g. supportive state policies and market pull).  Geographic proximity encourages rapid commercialization through increased communication and collaboration among the organizations.  The classic example of a broad ranging innovation cluster is Silicon Valley.  The analytic studies under this FOA would address how a strategy for a multi-state region could expand and accelerate the pace of innovation in energy through a regional ecosystem which might encompass more than one innovation cluster within a larger energy policy, market, industrial, and resource setting.

The U.S. Department of Energy is interested in regionally-focused analysis to help maximize the value of existing funding to foster energy innovation in the United States. Characteristics that might define a multi-state region include (but are not limited to): electricity markets [e.g. Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs)], energy resources (e.g. renewables, fossil, nuclear), industrial and manufacturing areas, water usage, energy policies, among many other attributes. Conducting data-driven research on how the characteristics of a given multi-state region interact with the various participants in that region’s energy innovation ecosystem, including researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, manufacturers, utilities, policy makers, and end-users, is critical to developing a comprehensive understanding of the potential for accelerating energy innovation across the United States.

This FOA is being sponsored by the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis (EPSA) which conducts or sponsors analysis on energy policy issues for the entirety of DOE.  EPSA has been conducting quantitative and qualitative analysis of energy innovation from R&D through deployment.  It has recently completed a pilot study of innovation clusters that correlated thousands of innovation activities as well as the surrounding policy environment.  Via this FOA, EPSA will build on this work to assess the potential of crosscutting regional strategies for energy innovation instead of DOE’s more traditional approach, which is organized by fuels, resources and technology.  



  • Notice of Intent: Jan. 18, 2017
  • Application: Feb. 28, 2017

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Restricted Eligibility – The nature of the studies that are the subject of this FOA require that they not be led by profitmaking organizations in order to ensure an unbiased assessment of the best energy innovation strategies for a multi-state region.  Therefore, in accordance with 2 CFR 910.126, Competition, eligible prime recipients under this FOA are limited to (1) educational institutions in the United States; (2) nonprofit organizations that are incorporated (or otherwise formed) under the laws of a particular state or territory of the United States; and (3) state, local, and tribal government entities in the United States.  In addition, the prime recipient and subrecipients must be residents of the region that they propose to assess.




Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

February 28, 2017