ASU Launches Joint Nomination Program with National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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November 22, 2021

Scientists and engineers from Arizona State University collaborate with researchers from National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, on more than half a dozen ongoing projects. These efforts encompass solar electricity, wind technology, hydroelectricity, advanced manufacturing, and grid reliability and resilience.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s premier national laboratory with a unique mission to lead research, innovation, and strategic partnerships to deliver solutions for a clean energy economy.

Arizona State University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, have launched a joint nomination program. ASU faculty and NREL staff selected as appointees will leverage their dual affiliations for projects that benefit both organizations. The new agreement may also present opportunities for ASU graduate students to experience research in renowned laboratory facilities such as those pictured here at the NREL campus in Golden, Colorado. Image courtesy of Joshua Bauer/NREL 51071
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“NREL serves to advance renewable energy technologies, and ASU does much to support that mission,” said Sridhar Seetharaman, Vice-Dean for Research and Innovation Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU. “But there is much more that their researchers, our professors and our students can accomplish together in areas such as power electronics, water supply systems and the social equity of the decarbonization of the energy sector. energy.”

To help realize this potential, ASU and NREL executed a joint appointment with Seetharaman. This agreement is the first of several potential partnerships allowing the talents of the two organizations to work more closely and more effectively. A cross-appointee remains an employee of their home institution, but the expanded benefits of dual affiliation are shared by both entities.

The new agreement means that Seetharaman will share its expertise with NREL researchers while gaining access to the national laboratory’s renowned facilities. Joint funding opportunities may also result from enhanced engagement, opening up new areas of research.

Ellen Morris, director of the university partnership program at NREL, said, “We look forward to working with ASU to leverage our collective scientific knowledge and state-of-the-art facilities to solve complex, multidisciplinary challenges in energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, renewable energy and smart grid integration technologies.

Seetharaman joined Fulton Schools in February 2021 after serving as associate vice president for research and technology transfer at the Colorado School of Mines, located near the NREL campus in Golden, Colorado. He will leverage his existing relationship with national lab staff to serve as ASU’s first co-appointee under this agreement.

In addition to conducting research, Seetharaman will provide strategic advice and technical assistance to NREL on advanced manufacturing, process characterization, validation, and network salience. He may also advise on expanding the lab’s advanced research into integrated energy systems, or RAM, an effort focused on decarbonizing the industry. It can also help NREL identify how to expand its capabilities to best meet advanced manufacturing needs.

“However, my joint appointment goes beyond my own research interests and expertise,” Seetharaman said. “As Associate Dean, my broader job is to help promote and oversee the program, identify joint opportunities, and initiate new collaborations.”

Gary Dirk, senior director of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU, says the university has had a great relationship with NREL for many years. He cites achievements of shared projects on photovoltaics, microgrids, water and more.

“They are a top research institution and they represent the type of strategic partner that any great university would want to have,” he said. “Sridhar is initiating something that can take our commitment to another level, and that’s quite important. Multi-agency collaborations are critical to success on many fronts, so the very mindset behind this new deal is something we all need to cultivate.

Kyle Squires, the vice provost of engineering, computing and technology at ASU and dean of the Fulton Schools, agrees that such partnerships are critical to institutional success.

“Establishing joint appointments with NREL will provide new opportunities for our faculty to advance their scholarship and increase the impacts of their work,” Squires said. “Similarly, we look forward to partnering with our NREL collaborators to engage our community and increase the impact of their work as well.”

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