Hard tech innovation takes significant risk, capital, and time. Our program is designed to give innovators the runway, tools, knowledge, and networks they need to turn a promising concept into a transformative product.
How we support our innovators
Cyclotron Road fellows are embedded in the Berkeley research ecosystem for two years with an explicit mandate to bring their ideas to the point of commercial viability. As part of our Cohort, innovators receive:
A two year fellowship—Rapid progress requires an “all-in” commitment. Our Cohort fellowship provides a living stipend and health insurance for two years so that innovators can be 100% focused on their projects.
Unencumbered access to world-class research facilities and expertise—Hard tech innovation requires sophisticated infrastructure. As part of the program, Cohort innovators access facilities, equipment, and expertise at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley, and receive initial research funding to catalyze collaborations. Innovators own all intellectual property developed during the program.
An intensive program of mentorship, education, and networking—Our curriculum is tailored to support the challenges of hard tech innovation. Participants receive intensive mentorship and education covering all aspects of the journey from concept to product. We also expose them to a wide range of leaders from academia, industry, government, and finance that can serve as advisors or partners.
Embedded in the heart of Berkeley
Cyclotron Road innovators are embedded in the heart of one of the world's most formidable research and innovation ecosystems. With unencumbered access to collaborations with scientists and faculty at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley, our innovators are able to work hand-in-hand with world-leading facilities and experts across nearly all fields of science and engineering.
What makes Berkeley special:
Over 4,000 scientists and faculty and 100+ members of the National Academies across Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley
13 Nobel Prizes won by Berkeley Lab scientists
Leading scientific facilities, including:
Molecular Foundry—nanoscience research user facility
Advanced Light Source—soft x-ray synchrotron user facility
Joint Bioenergy Institute (JBEI)—biofuels and bioproducts research center
Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit—biofuels and bioproduct scale up facility
Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis—solar fuels research hub
Join Genome Institute—genomics user facility
National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center—scientific computing center
Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory—cleanroom facility (UC Berkeley)
More than just funding and labs
Cyclotron Road provides an intensive mentorship experience to Cohort participants. Our goal is to give innovators the knowledge, guidance, and networks needed to achieve their goals. Key elements of the program include:
Community—Entrepreneurship can be a long and lonely road. As a member of our Cohort, innovators tackle this journey alongside a community of peers, sharing what they learn and celebrating each others victories. During the program, our innovators gather once a week for guest speakers, educational modules led by our staff, VIP visitors, and a happy hour for the whole Cyclotron Road community (nearly 100 people!)
One-on-One Mentorship—In the early stages, innovators often struggle to prioritize their limited time to focus on solving the most important problems facing their project. Our experienced team meets one-on-one with each of our innovators at least once a month to help develop priorities, provide guidance on specific questions and concerns, and connect them to people and resources that can help achieve their goals.
Professional Development—Most scientists receive little training in entrepreneurship, technology development, personnel management, and other skills that are essential to innovation. And most existing resources on these topics are focused on software and consumer products, not hard tech. As a member of our Cohort, innovators receive training from our team and other hard tech innovation experts on a weekly basis. These sessions focus on common knowledge gaps as well as specific topics suggested by our innovators based on their interest.
Network—The ability to engage influential people can be critical to success. We help innovators do just that by connecting them with our unrivaled network of industry executives, investors, entrepreneurs, and other innovation practitioners. We start by helping Cohort teams build a world-class advisory board to support their effort. We then expose them on a weekly basis to a curated set of visitors. Hundreds of people visit Cyclotron Road to meet with our innovators each year.
Transforming energy and resource-intensive industries.
Cyclotron Road supports innovators working to transform the most energy and resource intensive industries on the planet. Thanks to our sponsors, our current program supports entrepreneurial scientists and engineers who are developing technologies targeting three broad impact areas: advanced manufacturing, clean power, and electronics. All innovators are part of the same Cohort experience, regardless of impact area.
Advanced Manufacturing—Energy-intensive manufacturing accounts for 27 percent of total energy use worldwide and is a driver of overall economic growth. In addition, manufactured products have a significant impact on energy use in every industrial sector. Our Advanced Manufacturing track supports innovators working on advanced materials or manufacturing related energy technologies that have the potential for broad impact on the national, economic, and energy security of the United States.
Sponsor: US Department of Energy EERE Advanced Manufacturing Office
Clean Power—Electricity production accounts for nearly 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and access to reliable, safe, and low-cost electricity is a basic requirement for a high quality of life. Our Clean Power track supports innovators working on electricity generation, distribution, or end use technologies with the potential to reduce emissions while improving the reliability, cost, and safety of the electric power sector in California and beyond.
Sponsor: California Energy Commission
Electronics—Electronics underpin the critical systems and infrastructure a data-driven economy. Without transformative innovation, network connected devices are projected to constitute six percent of total electricity consumption worldwide by 2025. Our electronics track supports innovators developing new materials, devices, and systems with the potential to increase performance and reduce energy consumption in computing and electronics.
Sponsor: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Microsystems Technology Office