Building new collaboration, one-on-one among Principal Investigators (PIs), is a cog in the creation of centers for excellence that allow us to leverage the expertise and capabilities of the CAES entities in order to increase the pace and impact of advanced energy research. Collaboration among researchers and capabilities attracts expertise and leads to larger and more diverse funding opportunities. As outlined in the CAES Strategy, the ultimate goal is to support the development of centers for excellence capable of becoming sustainable, specialized spin-offs performing across all or a subset of research, education, and innovation, as appropriate. Examples include the INL Collaborative Computing Center, the Cybercore Integration Center, and the CAES Energy Policy Institute at Boise State University. CAES initiatives designed to foster this PI to PI collaboration include:






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CAES Annual Pitch Event

lyBbsK9Q Baby Shark Tank logo.png?fit=scale&fm=png&h=300&ixlib=php 3.3 InitiativesAligned with the Innovation pillar outlined in the CAES Strategy, this competition is designed to help the CAES research community develop and hone the skills needed to effectively pitch technical ideas or solutions.


  • CAES research community develops and hones skills needed to effectively communicate their work in short, dynamic, and engaging presentations while effectively pitching technical ideas or solutions
  • Provides a platform for the research community to practice using these skills in front of a panel of technical experts and those connected with entrepreneurship
  • Attracts CAESer interest in future entrepreneurship initiatives at CAES, provide a more public launch to the innovation pillar
  • Delivers access to direct feedback on work throughout the process, providing the foundation for their evolution and improvement as well as future industry collaborations
  • Supplies opportunity for participants to highlight awards and training, for their own advancement

Go here for information about the 2021 competition, CAES Annual Pitch Event 2021: Pathways to INL Net Zero.

CAES Fellows

Fellows are CAES researchers who are recognized and engaged leaders in the CAES community, active in a CAES focus area, and who share the inter-institutional collaborative spirit that embodies CAES.


  • The program provides recognition, resources, and opportunities to a diverse cohort of academic faculty and national laboratory researchers
  • Opportunities aligned to title of CAES Fellow, provide a foundation from which to build other Titled Initiatives
  • Potential for increased opportunities
  • Expectations aligned to the title of CAES Fellow and designed to drive further collaboration and elevate the affiliation with CAES
  • Title of CAES Fellow can be awarded through a short application process, with the appropriate Director or Associate Director serving as an advocate for the applicant
  • 2-year appointments, renewal possible


The inaugural cohort of CAES Fellows was selected in spring 2020:

  • Ron Boring, Idaho National Laboratory
  • Mike Borowczak, University of Wyoming
  • Brian Jaques, Boise State University
  • Lan Li, Boise State University
  • Mustafa Mashal, Idaho State University
  • Claire Xiong, Boise State University
  • Haiyan Zhao, University of Idaho

CAES Fellows Application

Submit Application

Resources for Fellows:
Product Table (pdf)
Funding Request Template (Excel file)
Quarterly Report Template (Excel)
White Paper Template (Word document)
Workshop Report Template (Word)

CAES Summer Visiting Faculty Program

This program provides funding for selected faculty to work jointly with an INL researcher on a joint proposal for external funding. It is designed to build lasting collaborative networks between INL researchers, university faculty, and students.

  • Faculty benefit through exposure to the inner workings of a national laboratory as well as the capabilities and expertise available.
  • INL researchers benefit through exposure to new diversified funding opportunities and the potential to work and connect with students.

Go here for more information.

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CAES Summer Visiting Faculty Program Application

Submit Application

Panel Discussions
These discussions provide educational opportunities for students in the CAES universities, creating touchpoints and building relationships between the universities and INL, and paving the way for professional development for early-career researchers as outlined in the CAES Strategy. Recent panel discussions focused on Energy Frontier Research Centers and journal writing for students, faculty, and early career scientists and engineers.

CAES roundtables set the stage for future research awards, which are defined as multi-institution, multi-investigator awards of $2M to $4M annually for a 4- to 5-year period of performance.

Roundtables are held throughout the year, organized by the CAES Associate Directors and comprised of thought leaders from the CAES institutions. The goal is to develop a white paper outlining a pitch to a federal partner for a national workshop hosted by CAES.

A successful roundtable results in justification for a proposal to a federal funding agency. Topics of recent roundtables include Cybersecurity, Nuclear Energy, and Advanced Manufacturing. For more information, contact CAES Communications Lead Matt Evans at [email protected].

Energy Frontiers Challenge

Did you know that the level of investment into the CAES Consortium by the State of Idaho and Idaho National Laboratory exceeds that of some competitively funded National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers? Such investments have positioned CAES to lead the nation in addressing grand challenges in energy from both a fundamental science perspective and an applied science and engineering approach.

To leverage this investment and further accelerate innovation through CAES, the Executive Board announced the Energy Frontiers Challenge in fall 2020. This challenge is structured to provide resources to catalyze transdisciplinary, multi-institution teams to pursue highly competitive funding opportunities and establish CAES Centers of Excellence that advance the energy field through convergent research approaches. This process also would further the educational mission of our university members through research while transforming the collaborative model of CAES.

The inaugural Energy Frontiers that we aim to catalyze further research in are (innovative ideas in areas outside of these categories will be considered for funding):

1) A Resilient Critical Materials Economy

2) Accelerating Energy Transitions

3) Advanced Manufacturing for Extreme Environments

We challenge our CAES working groups and the broader CAES community to establish task forces to propose convergent research approaches to address the grand challenges at these Energy Frontiers. The application period for FY21 closed in mid-April. Stay tuned for details on applying in FY22.

A pdf with details on the challenge is available here.

Energy Frontiers Challenge Application
Energy Frontiers Challenge Call for Proposals


Working Groups

These inclusive groups catalyze a community of researchers in each of the seven Focus Areas outlined in the CAES Strategy, leading to new collaborations, external funding opportunities, and ultimate impact in research, education, and innovation for the CAES community. The working groups have access to funds to accelerate these outcomes. The groups are charged with:

    • Submitting proposals and winning awards at all levels of the CAES research pyramid
    • Ensuring an inclusive and engaged researcher-driven group that enables the sharing of resources, expertise, capabilities, and collaborative efforts
    • Offering joint learning opportunities such as seminars or courses/training
    • Students from CAES universities working as interns at INL and in CAES labs

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For more information or to join a working group, contact the group lead listed below or CAES Communications Lead Matt Evans, [email protected].

Working group resources:
Activity Planning Guide (pdf)
Product Table (pdf)
Funding Request Template (Excel file)
Travel Budget Template (Excel)
White Paper Template (Word document)
Workshop Report Template (Word)


Working group leads:

Nuclear Energy — INL Don Wood [email protected]
Nuclear Energy — ISU Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar [email protected]
Energy-Water Nexus — UI Karen Humes [email protected]
Cybersecurity — UI Jim Alves-Foss [email protected]
Cybersecurity — ISU Larry Leibrock [email protected]
Cybersecurity — INL Wayne Austad [email protected]
Advanced Manufacturing — INL Rob O'Brien [email protected]
Advanced Manufacturing — BSU Dave Estrada [email protected]
Innovative Energy Systems — BSU John Gardner [email protected]
Energy Policy — BSU Kathy Araujo [email protected]
Computing, Data, & Visualization — ISU Leslie Kerby [email protected]
Computing, Data, & Visualization — INL John Koudelka [email protected]