United States Department of Energy
in partnership with MSRDC

Science and Technology Research Partnership (STRP): MSRDC and DOE Promoting Pathways for Underrepresented Groups in Solar Energy Scientific and Technological Innovation


By - MSRDC Admin



Contact: [email protected]                        

Watch an Informational Webinar   held Nov 19th, 2021 (passcode: .Vfu@7D4)

View PowerPoint slides  and Q&As of the Informational Webinar


The MSI STEM Research & Development Consortium (MSRDC) invites applications for funding support under the Science & Technology Research Partnership (STRP) Program.  Through this new initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) and the MSI STEM Research & Development Consortium (MSRDC) are partnering to promote innovation in solar energy technology research and development for underrepresented groups from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).  From having access to the MSIs network that MSRDC has built, MSIs principal investigators and research associates will bring a diverse set of perspectives and approaches when tackling the energy equity and clean energy national goals.



Applications must be submitted from MSI institutions that are members of MSRDC. To find out how to become a member, go to https://www.msrdconsortium.org/join.



The purpose of STRP is to increase 1) the level of engagement of MSIs in SETO’s mission critical research and 2) the solar energy applied research capabilities within the MSI community. The partnership will also advance SETO’s mission of accelerating the development and deployment of solar energy technology to support an equitable transition to a decarbonized energy system.


STRP Program Components

Each University Team (UT) will consist of a Principal Investigator (PI) from the university and a group of research associates. Research associates will include both participating students and post-doctoral staff. Moreover, each such group must include at least one undergraduate student, along with any additional graduate student(s), and/or post-doctoral staff. MSIs are encouraged to have external collaborators and to include them when building their University Team. Only submitting MSIs will be recipients of any funded award.


Each funded UT will perform innovative research projects that are critical to, and support, SETO’s mission. In addition, MSRDC will implement a professional-development, training curriculum and sponsor workshops that will advance the skills and expertise of the next-generation, STEM researchers. The training curriculum is intended to provide both PIs and research associates with key the information that will not only increase the likelihood of successful research projects but also advance their careers and in science and technology. The training sessions will be strategically designed to allow the participants to 1) become more proficient leaders and project managers and 2) apply their analytical skills to succeed in sponsored research and entrepreneurship.


The STRP program components will use an integration approach that will nurture the knowledge and expertise needed to achieve the research excellence and scientific leadership needed to positively impact the federal RD&D landscape. At the end of the performance period, the STRP UTs will present the results of their research at the STPR Annual Conference.



SETO’s mission is to accelerate the development and deployment of solar technology to support an equitable transition to a decarbonized electricity system by 2035 and decarbonized energy sector by 2050. SETO supports solar energy research, development, demonstration, and technical assistance in five areas—photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), systems integration, manufacturing and competitiveness, and soft costs—to improve the affordability, reliability, and domestic benefit of solar technologies on the electric grid. 


For more information visit,

SETO Homepage: https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-energy-technologies-office

SETO Goals: https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/goals-solar-energy-technologies-office

SETO Research Areas: https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-energy-research-areas


Research Focus Areas

MSRDC is inviting applications in the following programmatic research areas:

1. Photovoltaic Hardware Performance, Reliability, and Characterization

2. Energy Resilience in Communities

3. Reducing the Non-Hardware Costs of Solar – Analysis, Tools, and Data Resources and Supporting A Just Transition to 100% Renewable Energy Futures in Small Cities

4. Manufacturing and Competitiveness – Applied Solar Technology and Perovskite Benchmarking

5. Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power Technology and Cost Improvements


The details of these research areas are described in, https://www.msrdconsortium.org/doe-seto-funding-opportunities.


Award Size, Number of Awards, & Performance Period

A total of five awards are expected. STRP plans to fund five University Teams (UT), one team under each of the five research focus areas above. Each award is anticipated to receive a total of $400,000, spread over 2 years. The performance period is defined by two budget periods, years 1 and 2, and equivalent to a total of 24 months. The final award size will be determined upon the submission and review of meritorious applications.



The selection will proceed through a merit-application process that includes a thorough review of eligibility and scientific/technical readiness. The application, review, and selection process will consist of two stages.  Stage 1 will be used to screen quad chart-proposed projects, and on Stage 2 short full applications will be submitted.


Each application will undergo a merit review process by which it will be scored (1=Poor; 2=Average; 3=Good; 4=Excellent) according to the merit review criteria provided below, but not limited to,

-  Clear Alignment of the Proposed Research to the SETO’s.

-  Appropriateness of the Proposed Method or Approach.

-  Competency of Applicant’s Personnel and Adequacy of Proposed Resources.

-  Reasonableness and Appropriateness of the Proposed Budget.


Application Guidelines and Anticipated Deadlines

I.  Stage 1: Quad Chart and Abstract

Stage 1 provides an important opportunity for prospective applicants, especially non-traditional or first-time applicants to receive feedback prior to submitting a full application. After review, successful applicants will be notified to move forward and submit Short Full Applications.


In anticipation to receiving your full application, tell us how your team plans to fulfill SETO mission goals, by submitting your proposed project and capabilities in a Quad Chart format, in one of the above research focus areas. Along with the Quad Chart, provide a 250-word max abstract, and five key words.


The provided 1-page Quad Chart, template includes: 1) description of proposed effort, 2) scientific and technological approach, 3) impact, 4) anticipated cost and schedule.


Responses to Stage 1 must be submitted electronically, following the link below “SETO Submission Page”, no later than 11:59 pm (ET) on December 17, 2021, https://www.msrdconsortium.org/doe-seto-funding-opportunities.


II.  Stage 2: Short Full Applications

The anticipated deadline for Concept Papers is February 9, 2022, 12 pm (ET). Concept Paper template and instructions must be followed.


Key Dates

 Announcement Date: November 1, 2021
 Informational Webinar: November 19, 2021, 1:00 p.m. ET
 Stage 1 Quad Chart and Abstracts Due: December 17, 2021, 11:59 p.m. ET
 Stage 2 Applications Due: February 9, 2022, 12:00 p.m. ET
 Target Date for Finalist Selections: March 25, 2022

Alignment with National Goals

We are excited that the MRSDC and DOE SETO Science and Technology Research Partnership will contribute to the nation’s goal of decarbonizing the electricity system by 2035 and achieving a 100% clean energy economy with net-zero emissions by 2050.  The projects funded by this partnership program will help reduce costs for solar energy technologies, enable long-duration solar energy storage, and develop technology for carbon-free electricity in the United States.

SETO Submission Page
Visit the DOE's SETO website