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Energy Institute kicks off new $2 million seed funding effort 

In August, the Energy Institute (EI) issued its first-ever campus-wide call for proposals to the UT community to catalyze interdisciplinary projects under the umbrella of Fueling a Sustainable Energy Transition. EI is providing a total of $2 million in seed funding for the winning research teams -- the largest sum in a single round of funding currently available for self-supported energy research at any U.S. university.
As of the September 15th initial concept paper deadline, an impressive 30 interdisciplinary teams comprised of 122 unique faculty and representing 11 schools and 8 centers across UT have submitted proposal concepts. Applicants were encouraged to propose bold, unconventional projects for which funding via traditional sponsors would prove difficult plus build inter-disciplinary teams from across UT’s schools and departments. Submissions reflect a vast array of energy themes, including carbon capture and storage, renewables integration, economics and policy, solar, water, natural gas, energy efficiency, international development, transportation and electric vehicles, and the built environment.
Teams will submit final full proposals on October 15th, and EI will announce final award decisions on November 15th. Funding will be distributed between 5 to 7 interdisciplinary teams for research work over a two-year period beginning in January 2020.

Energy@UT News

TACC Introduces Frontera, World’s Fastest Academic Supercomputer
Researchers working with Frontera to solve massive computational problems, including climate and energy simulations


Keck Foundation Awards $1 Million for Solar Project
Supporting UT chemists in development of solar cell innovation that could boost efficiency by as much as 20%


Cobalt-Free Battery Boosts Electric Car Research
National collaboration aims to eliminate costly, finite cobalt from batteries


Legal & Policy Experts Launch New Website features conversations with experts on the complex questions posed by the green energy transition 


DOE Grant Aims to Improve Oil Recovery Using Engineered Water
Investing $8 million in the Hildebrand Department’s innovative engineering research


This fall, the UT Energy Symposium (UTES) enters its 17th semester. Managed by the Energy Institute, UTES offers a cross-disciplinary platform for the UT campus community to hear from top energy experts and practitioners each week during the academic year. Key themes include low-carbon technology, smart grids, climate change, energy policy and law, and technology.

Highlights of the UTES 2019 fall schedule include:

  • 9/26: Asher Price, 2019 UT Energy Journalism Fellow
  • 10/17: Mike Sloan, President of Virtus Energy Research Associates
  • 11/14: Joel R. Landry, Assistant Professor at Penn State University
  • 11/21: Barbara Finamore, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council

Energy@UT | Faculty Round-Up & Research Showcase

On October 1 and 2, 2019, EI will convene UT faculty, experts and stakeholders for the first Energy@UT research showcase and expo at the AT&T Conference Center. On October 1st, members of the UT energy community will share and discuss their research programs with colleagues from across campus at the Energy Faculty & Researcher Round-Up. The following day, EI will showcase the breadth and depth of UT’s vast energy research and innovation footprint to invited guests from industry, state and local government, and nonprofits. Sessions will include presentations and panel discussions from UT centers and faculty on innovative research and technology commercialization for big data, systems integration, photovoltaics, carbon capture, transportation, and more. 


The Cockrell School of Engineering has named Carnegie Mellon University researcher and professor Diana Marculescu as the next chair of UT’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She will assume her position on December 1, 2019, succeeding the department’s current chair, Ahmed Tewfik. She is the first woman to chair the ECE Department.

The University of Texas Institute for Geophysics (UTIG) has named Demian Saffer its next Director. Saffer, a professor and head of the Department of Geosciences at Penn State University, is an internationally known geophysicist with a proven background in leading major scientific missions. 

In July, the Energy Institute welcomed Asher Price as the 2019 Summer/Fall Journalism Fellow. Price, an award-winning journalist, writes for the Austin American-Statesman, and he co-authored The Great Texas Wind Rush, the backstory of how the oil-and-gas state became the country's top wind power producer. During his time at UT, Price will be researching and writing a book tracing the long and storied relationship between energy and religion in America.

Anna Bell Gall has joined the Energy Institute staff as our Director of Strategy and External Affairs, where she will assist the Institute with strategic planning, partnerships, brand and web strategy, communications, board and member relations, and policy development, in support of cross-campus energy research. 

Riffat Manasia has joined the Energy Institute staff as Director of Research Coordination and Partnerships. In this role, she will develop, implement, and manage EI’s research catalysis, interactions, and ideation programs for interactive and creative value and maximum efficiency. 

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