We will accept applications for Cyclotron Road Cohort Six this fall. Scroll down to review program details, eligibility criteria, the application timeline, frequently asked questions, and more.

What you get

Fellows receive:*

  • A two year fellowship—Includes a personal living stipend ranging from $80,000 to $110,000/year depending on experience, along with full individual health insurance, and up to $12,000/year travel allowance.

  • Lab access and research funding—Unencumbered access and $100,000 in seed research funding at Berkeley Lab, with the potential to also access UC Berkeley as part of our pilot partnership

  • Mentorship, education, and networking—Intensive mentorship and education from our program team and exposure to a wide range of leaders from academia, industry, government, and finance.

*All support is subject to performance and availability of funds.

Eligibility criteria

Innovators may apply as individuals or as the technical leader of an existing team or small business.

For acceptance into the program, applicants:

  • Must be the technical leader(s) of their effort, with Ph.D. or equivalent experience in a technical field.

  • Must be working to advance a hard tech concept based on an innovation in the physical or biological sciences, or related engineering disciplines.

  • Applicants that have raised more than $2,000,000 in debt or equity funding from non-governmental sources within three years prior to program acceptance are ineligible.

  • Strong preference for applicants that have raised less than $500,000 to date.

  • Strong preference for applicants who have not previously founded a hard tech company.

If an effort has two technical leads, both individuals should apply in a single application so long as they are considered full leaders/founders with decision-making authority.  

Applicants are not required to have an incorporated entity in order to apply; however, selected participants will be required to establish an appropriate legal entity for their project if selected to receive support from the program.

Impact tracks and specific requirements:

Fellows are recruited to one of three impact tracks. In the application form, applicants may select all impact tracks for which they wish to be considered.

DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office State of California Energy Commission DARPA Microsystems Technology Office
Catalyze research, development and adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies and practices to drive U.S. economic competitiveness and energy productivity. [Ref.] Support investments in clean energy technologies that promote greater electricity reliability, lower costs, and increased safety for ratepayers in the state of California. [Ref.] Ensure far-reaching improvements in electronics performance beyond the limits of traditional scaling by supporting research and development in microelectronic architectures, design, and materials and integration. [Ref.]
Additional eligibility requirements
U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident None U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

Application materials

Applications should consist of a single PDF document containing the following information:

  • You (one page)—A one page resume for the technical leader(s) applying for the fellowship (up to two per application)

  • Your vision (two pages)—Describe the technology concept you want to pursue. Use the Heilmeier catechism as a guide for what’s most relevant.

  • Why Cyclotron Road? (one page)—What most attracts you to Cyclotron Road? Why would this be the ideal home for you and your project (vs. alternative paths)? Which people or facilities at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley would be particularly valuable in supporting your work?

  • What else? (one page)—An extra page. Your call.

Formatting requirements: 

Render and submit a single PDF that precisely follows the page guidance above. For example, "one page" means precisely a single page with no spill over. Applications that do not follow the formatting requirements will not be considered.

To ensure maximum protection of your information, please mark all pages of your application with the footer “Confidential and Proprietary – Exempt from Disclosure”

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Frequently asked questions

Do you take any equity in the projects?

No. Cyclotron Road is a fellowship program that supports people, first and foremost. We have a nonprofit mission to help you find the optimal path for your project to go to market, regardless of the specific business model. That said, many of our innovators find other ways to give back to the hard tech community.

What are your selection criteria? 

Our primary selection filter will be based on your individual strengths as a potential Cyclotron Road fellow. We are looking for entrepreneurial technical leaders who have the drive and ability to build a transformative technology and lead a team in its development. We also work to ensure that the initial project concept is technically sound, reasonably differentiated, and addresses a well-framed problem with potential for significant long-term impact on the mission of the sponsoring agency for each application track.

I’m eligible for more than one application track based on the criteria, how do I choose?

Choosing a single track for your application is not required. We recommend you begin by reviewing the sponsoring agency’s mission and technologies of interest for each application track in the table above. Choose the tracks that align with your vision for the long-term impact of your technology if wildly successful.

How are my chances of being selected affected by my choice of impact track? 

We will consider your application for funding in all tracks for which you are eligible, unless you specifically opt out of that consideration.

Do I/we have to be incorporated to apply?  

Applicants are not required to have an incorporated entity in order to apply; however, selected participants will be required to establish an appropriate legal entity for their project if selected to receive support from the program.

What if I ultimately decide that a startup is not right for me or my technology? 

That's ok. We believe that housing your effort within an incorporated entity provides the best structure to support you as an entrepreneurial innovator. That said, our goal from day one is to support you in finding the best path to drive your technology concept toward impact in the marketplace. That can take many forms, from high-growth venture to licensing or early acquisition. Or you may realize that the idea has a fatal flaw you didn't expect. In any case, our primary goal is your personal success and with it the impact of your idea, regardless of the form that takes.

Can I participate in the program part-time? 

No. Participants are expected to be “all in” and working on their project full time. As such, you will have to give up any other primary employment affiliation in order to participate in the program. 

Do I have to move to Berkeley? 

Participation in the program requires that you be substantively in-residence at Berkeley Lab. It’s beautiful here, you'll love it.

Some of my team is based outside of Berkeley, do they also need to move?

No. As long as the cohort participant is substantively in residence at Berkeley Lab, they can continue to work with collaborators elsewhere.

What if I am already affiliated with Berkeley Lab or The University of California (UC)?

Anyone meeting the stated eligibility requirements is eligible to participate and encouraged to apply. That said, applicants are required to disclose if Berkeley Lab or UC has any financial interest in the applicant’s background IP or company so that potential conflict-of-interest issues can be identified and managed appropriately. 

How will intellectual property (IP) be handled? 

Projects will be supported via a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Berkeley Lab or via our pilot Visiting Entrepreneurial Fellow agreement (VEF) at UC Berkeley, each of which offers clear IP protection for participants. Those planning to leverage background IP from another institution at Cyclotron Road will be expected to seek and obtain appropriate rights to such IP.

Will my applications materials be kept confidential? 

Your application will be reviewed by scientific and industry experts from within and outside of Berkeley Lab. Based on summary application information, potential reviewers will be asked to recuse themselves from accessing any application that may pose a potential conflict of interest, and any selected reviewers will commit to not disclosing information outside of the formal selection process. We will not share application materials outside of the review process without your express permission. While we encourage you to be as open as possible in your application, we would advise against including any critically sensitive proprietary details. Finally, remember to mark all pages of your application with the footer “Confidential and Proprietary – Exempt from Disclosure”

Where can I address other questions I have about the program? 

A webinar covering details about the application process and program will be made available to registered applicants.

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