Workshop Group Breakout Notes


Alex Collins
Strategic Energy Institute
Contact Alex Collins

Sidebar Content
No sidebar content submitted.

Summary Sentence:

Workshop Group Breakout Notes

Full Summary:

Birch Group Breakout - David Sholl SEI Strategic Planning Retreat, Dec. 7, 2010 Aspirations for SEI: - Be the go to resource for energy at Georgia Tech - Improve communication and publicity. Engage existing full time communication staff in relevant Schools - Aid in getting information on opportunities in advance of RFP release, especially by placing people on relevant national boards and committees - Make concerted efforts to place GT people on national boards and win relevant awards

Birch Group Breakout - David Sholl
SEI Strategic Planning Retreat, Dec. 7, 2010

Aspirations for SEI:
- Be the "go to" resource for energy at Georgia Tech
- Improve communication and publicity. Engage existing full time communication staff in relevant Schools
- Aid in getting information on opportunities in advance of RFP release, especially by placing people on relevant national boards and committees
- Make concerted efforts to place GT people on national boards and win relevant awards

Gaps in Resources:
- Possibility of SEI having admin resources to assist with large proposals viewed very positively
- How can SEI catalyze long term planning for future opportunities?
- Offer funding for topical workshops to bring together future teams. Multiple ideas suggested, including making workshops problem based rather than technology based, finding champions to lead/organize workshops, having criteria that would measure success in terms of new connections made during workshops. This idea very well received.
- SEI appears very supply focused because of current people. Need to somehow show that energy use is also important.

Global perspective:
- Steve McLauglin is very keen to meet/work with us and identify specific international opportunities

- Current communication is viewed as poor. "You can't overcommunicate"
- Poster sessions
- Regular meetings with relevant faculty (retreat, focus groups, other?)
- Regular newsletter

Short term investments
- Topical workshops
- Communication specialists (web page, newsletter). This was view as very important.
- Seed grants (continue existing program)
- Explore making existing video content from energy related lectures available online.

Beech Group Breakout - Ron Chance

• Broad excellence is established - in the technical areas.
We do have some advantages!
Industry links are easier (e.g. Chevron).
• How do we pull the energy research portfolio of GT? Who are the thought leaders in the area?
• We don't have a permanent director and we don't have a home - we need both.
• Could we have someone "walking the halls" at DOE to find out what is going on and make the right connections?
• What do you want to be other than be "pre-eminent?" - What is the audience - "impact" - who are you trying to impress?
• We want to have an impact to avoid the potential disaster of demand outstripping supply - or creating the energy without messing up the environment and ecosystems. We have to develop the science and engineering to supply an overall growing need for energy.
• How do we get the resources to move us from the tactical to the strategic?
• What is the advantage of SEI? SEI must create synergies to enable the tactical to transition to the strategic? How do we put these projects together? SEI is already doing this!
• What would SEI want to be able to make a much bigger impact?
• It has not been strategic - it has been bottom up to address needs.
• Isolated projects that do not add up to more than the parts. How do we build consortia in this area which can leverage the efforts and build synergies?
• Should SEI be creating the opportunities? Should they be doing more soliciting of companies?
• How do you support the synergies happening? Faculty are the scare resource - Biology, NIH, probability of being successful in the grant.
• Competing on campus for attention of faculty.
• Energy is a part of the picture - for example energy in electronics, waste water treatment, biodiversity etc
• SEI as mechanism to cross disciplinary boundaries to allow energy aspects to be more visible. Strategic ways to move forward to go after new sources of funding.
• SEI - climate change - is this part of SEI? Supporting these kinds of forums?
• Activities - do we have active participation from schools in the institute? Lack of active participation in biology, physics, ISYE.
• Communication out into various channels - not good.
• Energy storage hub? Energy storage - who could have lead by effort? Participation was the key problem. MIT won most of this money.
• Does the infrastructure exist in the same way at other institutions? We are working developing the resources on campus.
• "Big Money" - for partnerships - Solar hub proposals - how do we continue to build the partnerships once we do NOT get the proposal funded?
• RFP - how do we shape these? How do you develop the partnerships prior to the call? Workshop participation - how do you facilitate the building partnerships?
• Does this need to be better organized? We have organized workshops - but how widely were those distributed? How to facilitate the networking of the faculty. Energy workshops - are we doing the right kind of workshops. You need to organize research agenda defining workshops for specific agencies (e.g. DOE, NSF).
• Seminar series - existing ones, very fragmented views on this. Clean energy seminar series does do some of this, but does not have high national visibility (any) and speaker list could be strengthened. (Semianr series of internal speakers run by Mike and Carsten).
• Preparing the infrastructure for the next proposal, next opportunity, pulling the admin together. Support for proposal development.
• The types of study like "Future of Coal" - can GT do these studies?
• What is the impact of these kind of studies? Why are we not positioning ourselves as a "thought leader" types?
• For example - internet security there is a GT report in this area. "Energy Buzz?" What are the key issues that are in the energy space? Thought leadership in "carbon capture," on "lighting", on "algal fuels," "batteries" "fuel cells" Helpful internal dissemination.
• Doing media training for the thought leaders - structurally who gets called?
• Are we doing enough with Oak Ridge?
• Savannah River - on the up?
• NETL - how do we break into this group

• Education - Energy Minor (15 hours) - perceived need to have something across the colleges. Broaden their education.
Technical areas:
• Nuclear - is this something that SEI should promote? Is the effort to be broken back out from ME - no probably.
• Energy Economists - do we have this expertise? Market design, finance - need people in this area.
• SEI - matrix of technologies - by person in a given technology - who does what?
• Solar
• Nuclear
• Oxidation of carbonaceous materials
• Efficiency (Industrial process efficiency) [Not considered pre-eminent in this area]
• We have not put out the tent and blown the horn! Have we translated this into centers etc and the share of the federal funding. There is a lot of funding already.
• ISYE not engaged in this topic particularly (role of logistics).
• Electrical engineering - lighting not linked to energy use.

Poplar Group Breakout - Deepak Divan

• Vision
• In 15-20 years vision GT should be "Energy Place to Go"
• Why does it have to be 15-20 years? Why not 5 years?
• Example of ARPA-E Summit, where Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley and MIT helped set the agenda
• We need to have a leader of SEI by July 1, does Director hire precede strategy?
• We need to paint a vision that is larger than life.
• MUST DO: Create a vision, changed from current vision. Vision must focus on societal transformation at a global level.
• SEI -no opinion on technology areas, it is a process and conduit. Stimulate debate, but not prefer one over the other. Honest broker.
• Should not decide on which faculty to hire
• GT is global. Often struggle with getting legislative support on energy matters in GA. Need to build greater support.

What is the SEI?
• SEI is 'energy' interface between GT and World:
o Outward looking - Assessment studies, thought leadership, publicity, lobbying, industry outreach, economic development, innovation ecosystem, annual meeting face of GT.
o Inward looking - Coordination, large proposal support, information dissemination, DC contacts for faculty

• Why do we need SEI?
• Want to be close to the movers and shakers
• GA does not provide support. Yet GT is international.
• SEI needs to be our PR firm.
• Energy city (that is part of the how?)
• We do better technologies than MIT
• Honest broker not only for the external face, but also internally

SEI Desired Functions (sets the resource requirement)
• Publicity engine
• Newsletter (internal and external)
• Energy spot on national TV (GT football)
• Info release on SEI retreat targeted internally
• Coordinator
• Internal Information
• Enabling contacts: Facilitating the research relationships, searchable data base with faculty names and key words
• It is all about relationship building. Support brown bag lunches, coffee space. Locate SEI in heart of campus.
• Support for large proposals, tech writers, coordination for meeting govt requirements
• Not create another layer of bureaucracy
• Assessment studies - 'Fulbright' scholars; Consortium funded.
• Energy Debate coordination and organization
• Somebody looking out for opportunities and influencing the debate, creating opportunities
• Lobbying, government support,
• Economic development & innovation

World Energy Debate: (cosponsored by the World Economic Forum?) - annual event.
• World thought leaders, contentious topics, linked to GT poster session
• Energy Forum

Partner with institutions internationally, global perspective.

• Should SEI be a physical entity?
• Endowment will allow that. For that there needs to be a specific vision that can be sold to 'buyer'. This vision needs to address fundamental societal problems.
• GT should create 2-3 vision documents that are consistent with each other, and look for endowment support.
• Energy is not a 'fashion', is a bet that will last for 30 years.
• Clusters helped by buildings -> Optics are also important

• TEST Beds
• Buildings are important, showcase, coordination.
• NIST building
• Solar decathlon house.
• Competition,
• Interesting metaphor for many researchers and centers
• Very successful
• Cultural point of view
• Number of student activities already on campus
• Combining campus energy day?
• International collaboration, promotion.

Maple Group Breakout - Thom Orlando

Aspirations and Themes
• Push Energy and SEI as one of Cross' 8-10 research clusters
• Better integration of policy & technology
Motivated, full time, energetic networking director needed
• SEI, control vs. facilitate - perception vs. reality
• SEI should stimulate foci identification and idea generation (resources will follow)
• Continue to Build the SEI Community - Retreat was the "first stop"
• Investment and focus should be at least similar to nano initiative
• Technology for the developing world - GT technical identity
• Caltech research directors conference as a model for an activity
• Brokering work 
• Political backing  ..not there needs to be.
• Nucleate teams way ahead of time.
• SEI needs to build in political buy-in over time well before the call.
• SEI needs to do the contacting for the faculty.
• Interests sub-group for communication. TAG has the state information.
• SEI has targeted emails .
• Does it make sense to just follow the funding agencies about following what it takes to contribute to non-fossil fuels consuming initiatives in developing countries.
• Looking at the demand side  what are the regulatory policies? What are the important sectors in developing urban areas.
• SEI should be a center for stimulating good ideas
• Confines of the University vs. the populace  (State Energy Plan? - Can SEI be the face of this?)

Resource Gaps/Needs
• Better GT/legislative interactions needed
Appropriate for SEI - impossible for individual PIs
• SEI needs to promote information sharing about events and opportunities
• SEI needs a public face  iconic .public message campaign. (You-Tube Energy Competitions. Energy efficiency competition in EAS in CO2 emissions. Can market this as a state of GIT/Georgia thing )
• Univ. of Georgia does a good job in contacting / coupling to the legislature. SEI should be charged with this and doing it on the part of GIT.

Short Term - High Impact Investments
• More SEI Seed Funding (x2)
Select people based on impact to PI & GT
Good to seed new collaborative projects
• SEI should identify large opportunities - Timing - Plan today for a proposal in 2 years
Advocates for GT with politicians & funding agencies
Nuclear collaborative effort in key areas a possibility
• Needs to be organized so that we can market it to the politicians .SEI should be the correct umbrella organization for information on energy.
• Indirect costs - Federal vs. Industry projects - can difference be redirected back to SEI for cross campus energy support
• Research Directors conference .high level people from industry .people were excited to be invited to participate  corporate folks saw that there potential competitors were also there ..can get companies talking to each other about co-funding things.
• SEI should get very high level people to Tech.

Educational - Outreach
• Energy day-----similar to Earth Day but with zero energy/carbon neutrality as theme
• Low-hanging fruit ..SEI should organize a focus group to make this student generated public face .let them come up with a plan.
• SEI seed funds to students for outreach - better use of small funds (top up or bonus funds)
• One model is Kim Cobb's, EAS class competition
• Energize students, Und Grad and Grad, on energy issues
• Energy Minor
• Monitor other universities activities in energy education
• Graduate Energy Program like Bioengineering Program
• Student run energy seminar series
• Clough Learning Center
Include SEI lounge (include energy technology, etc)
• Student involvement as outcome of retreat
• SEI seed funds - SEI Fellows for public outreach - for grad students.Having outcome to identify a task force that have some students  
• Students sponsored by industry .1-2K from a few companies ..need to be engaged with development folks.

SEI should facilitate serious strategic focus area interactions.
What are they - Solar Photovoltaics, Nuclear, Ocean Energy, Coastal areas ..
• Connect to other GIT campuses globally (and Savannah) ..also shows work in Sustainability.
• College of Computing involvement in SEI?
• DEMAND side ..Energy Efficiency is a huge issue smart buildings  changing of usage patterns.
• Use of advance materials ..lightwieght vehicles .low energy expenditures ..materials made here can create jobs.
• Energy efficiency building in architecture ..should put this in the portfolio------common denominator.
• Most activity in Mech Eng. and Electircal Eng. -----policy MUST be a focus area. Conservation and efficiencies 
• SEI would help facilitate growth in Energy in terms of hiring should re-enforce this and emphasize joint appointments  if this is a clear area that the upper admin will support this, unit strategic plans should reflect it.
• Systems thinking should be a big thrust ..interdisciplinary education?
• Should we have a School of Energy and Resources? Premature to discuss this ..Bioengineering model works .
• Building and space issues
• Limited resources .coupling to industry and not too much focus on state and federal government. How do we engage industry?....need to give them something back ..
• How do we make consortia happen? Tools .economic forums .etc .can be used as seed funds. Need somebody with industrial coupling .DOE funding  industry first
• HELP CREATE DARPA programs and MURI topics
Research Areas -large project SEI facilitation/support
SEI is a facilitator vs. the perception that it is controlling things.
Yamacraw a model - initially a successful model
Multiple institutions
Significant political and industry support

• Nuclear
crystallize a science & technology team at GT (SNRL, ORNL, UTenn, GT Lorraine )
Center for Sustainable Nuclear Power - Waste management issues .env. engineering.
• Biomass/Biofuels
• Photovoltaic
• Electrical Grid
• CO2 Management and separations
• Energy efficiency
Engineering, Science, Policy, Economics
HUB - no involvement from SEI
• Combustion, Batteries, Fuel Cells

Budding Area

• Ocean (Marine/Hydrokinetic and Wind) Energy (budding research area)

Leverage campus "materials focus" with renewable materials

Additional Information


Strategic Energy Institute

Institute and Campus, Special Events and Guest Speakers, Energy, Research
Related Core Research Areas
No core research areas were selected.
Newsroom Topics
No newsroom topics were selected.
  • Created By: Mary Hallisey Hunt
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Dec 14, 2010 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:03pm