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Eligibility and Application Requirements

Participation requires a commitment to the full ten-week program (June 3 through August 9, 2024).

Selected faculty participants will receive a weekly stipend of $1,800 stipend for the ten-week program (paid biweekly). Selected faculty may also be eligible to receive a $500 inbound/outbound travel reimbursement.

  • Eligibility Criteria

    Before applying, be sure to confirm eligibility requirements that are listed below.

    You must meet the following to be eligible for an appointment:

    • Must be a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident at the time of applying.
    • Be a current (2023-24 academic year) MSI STEM faculty member from an eligible Minority Serving Institution (MSI), including eligible Community Colleges. MSIs that meet the statutory criteria for identification (as defined by the U.S. Department of Education) and are eligible for this program are found on the MSI designation list.
    • Be recognized as full-time faculty by their institutions, not holding "adjunct" or "visiting" designations.

    Additional eligibility factors:

    • Have coverage under a health insurance plan before arriving at the appointment site and maintain coverage during the appointment.
    • Interest in a specific NREL area of research.
  • Application Requirements

    Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and compliance before moving forward to the merit review and final selection.

    A complete application consists of:

    • All required fields in both the Zintellect profile and Zintellect application form, including Current Curriculum Vitae (include list of any papers, presentations, or publications)
    • Two References submitted through Zintellect
    • Project Information
      • Research Proposal Title
        Research Project Abstract (150 – 200 words)
    • Research Alignment
      • Provide links to current NREL research projects and/or relevant NREL tools that align with the research project you are proposing.
      • Provide a customized learning solution abstract (150 words) showing how the proposed project will align with and be integrated into your current course load. References to one of the four FACES pillars preferred: Human Behavior (1), Community Engagement (2), Environmental Science (3), Energy Transition and Artificial Intelligence (4).  (Learning solution only requires alignment with a single course)
    • Personal statement
      • Provide a personal statement indicating your interest in renewable energy research, desire to bring current research into the classroom, and any other relevant information you feel would help inform our decision.

    Submitted documents must have all personal identification numbers, and/or dates of birth removed (blanked out, blackened out, made illegible, etc.) prior to uploading into the application system.

FACES Project Propsal and CLS Proposal Examples

  1. Research Project Abstract
  2. Please provide a Customized Learning Solution (CLS) abstract (150 words) show how the proposed project will align with and be integrated into your current course load. Aligning the research, CLS, and one of the four FACES interdisciplinary topics is preferred: Human Behavior (1), Community Engagement (2), Energy and Environmental Science (can include Energy Justice) (3), Energy Transition and Artificial Intelligence (4). Learning solution only requires alignment with a single course. Examples are below.

  1. Research Project Abstract (150–200 words)
    For this project we propose exploring the effects of cation disorder on the material properties of II-IV-V2 materials as thin films. ZnGeP2 is an example II-IV-V2 that is lattice matched to Si and through cation disorder has the potential to have a tunable band gap. These properties make ZnGeP2 a good candidate for many optoelectronic devices, including as an absorber layer on tandem Si solar cells. This project will focus on understanding cation disorder and its impact on material properties in ZnGeP2 and related materials. In order to determine the degree of disorder in ZnGeP2 films and the effects of disorder on material properties, this project will focus on theoretical modeling and characterization of these films. Techniques that may be applied include density functional theory, ellipsometric optical modeling, and refinements (fitting) of X-ray diffraction data.

  2. Customized Learning Solution (CLS)
    III-V solar materials currently hold the record for conversion efficiency. However, III-V materials (In, GA, Te) may be limited in their application due to their elemental scarcity. Discovering, studying, and implementing Earth-Abundant materials (Zn, Ge) could allow for greater deployment of more efficient Si-tandem solar panels with an accompanying lower cost. During this CLS, students will perform a techno-economic analysis of the potential benefits and detriments of using II-IV-V materials in Si-tandem solar cells. Mining, labor, processing, toxicity and material cost (Energy and Environmental Science) will be researched. Additionally, students will study current price points, market trends, and consumer behavior (Human Behavior) before producing a final report and recommendation for the continuation or discontinuation of further research into these materials.

  1. Research Project Abstract (150–200 words)
    This project will support the Department of Energy's National Community Solar Partnership, a coalition of community solar stakeholders working to expand access to affordable community solar to every American household by 2035. The project will include 1) gaining an understanding of community solar market deployment trends, 2) providing technical assistance to Partners with questions about community solar program, policy, or finance, 3) track the status of state and utility programs focused on including low-income customers in community solar projects. The faculty will have flexibility to determine individual research questions while engaging with community solar experts from across the country. Possible research questions could include: How effective are different community solar subscription structures? What are best practices for community solar program design? How can low-income customers best participate in community solar?

  2. Customized Learning Solution (CLS)
    This capstone project will require students to work as a team and perform background research, engage with the local community, and develop recommendations to be shared. For the Customized Learning Solution module, students will begin with a literature review of the current solar marketplace, gather information on federal government programs for solar (e.g. Department of Energy, Housing and Urban Development), and investigate the viability of electricity generation using solar PV based on publicly available data and tools (through Once thoroughly researched the team will then develop and deploy a survey to the local community (e.g. small neighborhood, apartment building, college campus) to gather data about the wants and needs of the local community. Subsequently, the team will compile the survey data and using the literature review, develop recommendations for community leaders (e.g. president of the university, local politician) on the potential for a local community solar project or provide reasons why the project is not viable in their community.

  1. Research Project Abstract (150–200 words)
    This project will support an ongoing effort in the Delaware Valley located outside Philadelphia. Municipal corporations that surround large cities can often be lumped into data developed for the cities. This means solutions that arise from that data may not apply to the municipalities or may be overly burdensome for the community to implement. For example, if an offered solution to the city is that all new buildings will need to have heat pumps rather than traditional furnaces, the smaller municipalities have to now find and train workers who can install heat pumps. The faculty member and team will interface with the utilities, community organizations, Delaware Valley, and the multi-lab system working on this project to ensure that the community needs and wants are being upheld in the energy transition. We will analyze who is considered energy poor in this ecosystem, and consider what solutions they would need to no longer be energy poor.

  2. Customized Learning Solution (CLS)
    This project requires students to examine current regulations in the largest city near the school. Students can work as individuals or groups to examine new building requirements and regulations and work to find answers to the following: (1) Would this infrastructure requirement need a specialty workforce? (2) What trainings exist in that city (Do any community colleges have programs? Are there companies already in existence that do the work?)? After discovering these answers, students would broaden the research with the following prompts: (1) Using these regulations, which of these would create a burden on smaller communities? (2) What solutions would those communities need to implement the regulations? As a deliverable, students will propose a company that would provide a service that can implement the new requirement for the local community. Consider what education you will need to provide for the workers of your company. What would be the cost to start up a company like this? Where would you find your funding? Who would you target as your workforce?