Solar Energy Conversion

The single most important characteristic of a successful proposal is that it presents truly innovative ideas that have potential to result in transformative breakthroughs in the fundamental scientific understanding of solar energy conversion to electricity or fuels.

This program is not intended to support incremental science no matter how excellent. Preference will be given to highly innovative, high risk/high reward plans describing: (i) development of novel high-performing materials that possess greater stability, lower cost, or offer higher efficiency than materials currently used in solar energy devices; (ii) innovative, highly efficient methods for solar energy conversion to electricity or fuels that take advantage of unique chemical or optical properties and are poised to overcome current bottlenecks limiting performance efficiency.

Scialog Objectives

  • Support individuals or collaborative teams of early career researchers who present innovative approaches that address the designated research topics;
  • Enable higher-risk research that might fall outside the boundaries of traditional federal funding streams;
  • Establish and convene communities of researchers who will interact intellectually to move the broader research agenda forward;
  • Leverage funding from private foundations and federal agencies to further support successful lines of research.

Scialog Conferences

Annual conferences are an essential feature of Scialog: Solar Energy Conversion. The conferences help fulfill a key Scialog objective of forging a vibrant network of cutting-edge researchers in solar energy conversion. Scialog Fellows meet to share critical feedback on their projects and further develop research agendas. Outstanding solar energy conversion researchers supported by other agencies (for example, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, and the Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion) also participate on an invitation only basis. The conferences have an unusual format with a limited number of formal presentations and significant time spent in closed breakout sessions and other forms of dialog. Participants are challenged to form small teams and write short proposals “on the spot” for additional seed funding based on highly innovative ideas that emerge during the dialog. Representatives from funding agencies, government laboratories and industry are invited to open portions of conferences. The conferences provide opportunities to initiate new collaborations, create new funding streams, and accelerate transformative breakthroughs. For a list of current Scialog Fellows please see our Awards Database.

Participation in Solar Energy Conversion is by invitation.