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Bosch awards $1.7m grants for energy research to US universities

Steve Rogerson
August 9, 2016
German technology company Bosch has awarded its third round of energy research grants, which total $1.7m, and sponsored 15 interns in the area of energy.
Following a competitive grant selection process in 2015, the Bosch Energy Research Network (Bern) provided six seed-funding grants to faculty at five top US universities. The grants continue Bosch’s long-term focus on energy-efficient technologies, in addition to its support of US universities.
Bern is a Bosch initiative in the USA for collaborative research into transformational energy technologies. It is funded by the global Bosch inter-campus programme. Through this global programme, Bosch has been supporting universities and research projects focusing on the environment, energy and mobility since 2011. By 2021, the company will have invested about €50m to support universities and research programmes focused on the environment, energy and mobility in Germany, China, India and the USA.
In the USA, Bern is allocating more than $10m between 2011 and 2017 to support energy research at top engineering research universities. Bern will fund more than 25 university research grants, with the goal of developing transformative energy technologies for series production.
Bern invited proposals from six institutions: California Institute of Technology; Carnegie Mellon University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stanford University; University of California at Berkeley; and the University of Michigan.
Following a two-stage competitive grant selection process, Bosch chose six proposals – on topics of combustion, energy conversion, energy storage, energy usage efficiency and smart grid – to receive two-year grants of up to $150,000 per year. The selected proposals were:

  • Stable interfacial modification of lithium-metal anodes. Principal investigator: Yi Cui, Stanford University.
  • Research to enable natural gas-fuelled, direct injection, auto-igniting diesel- style combustion engines for heavy-duty transportation. Principal investigator: Christopher Edwards, Stanford University.
  • In silico design of advanced materials for high-energy density electrochemical devices. Principal investigators: William Goddard and Boris Merinov, California Institute of Technology.
  • Towards next-generation, all solid-state lithium-ion batteries. Principal investigators: Richard Laine and Jeff Sakamoto, University of Michigan.
  • High-performance solid electrolytes for batteries. Principal investigator: Jeffrey Long, University of California at Berkeley.
  • Software platform for demand-side energy management. Principal investigators: Anthony Rowe and Mario Berges, Carnegie Mellon University.
“With the tagline of ‘invented for life’, Bosch is dedicated to the responsible usage of energy and stewardship of the environment,” said Jiri Marek, senior VP at Bosch’s research and technology centres in North America. “Bern provides us with opportunities to partner with leading universities to strengthen research efforts, build relationships with top faculty who are researching energy topics, and attract the best engineering talent.”
Bern also promotes advancements in energy technologies by providing internship opportunities at Bosch sites throughout North America for future engineers in the development of energy-efficient products and practices. With the addition of 15 interns in 2015-16, Bern has in total supported 89 interns, recruited from 14 universities, at several Bosch locations.
The interns, working alongside Bosch associates, develop powertrain and thermal management systems for electric vehicles, help develop market strategies for energy storage and grid systems, increase efficiency and reduce emissions from automotive engines, develop advanced automotive sensors, reduce overall energy consumption at manufacturing plants, and investigate smart grid technologies, among other topics.
More than half of Bosch’s $7.1bn 2015 R&D budget was focused on products that contribute to energy efficiency, environmental protection and resource conservation.
Nearly 55,800 Bosch researchers and developers design, test and research systems, components and methods worldwide; more than 2800 Bosch associates are dedicated to R&D in the Americas.
The Bern programme is managed by the Bosch research and technology centres in North America. With locations in California, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, the centres have focused since 1999 on a wide spectrum of research topics: application-specific integrated circuit design and MEMS technologies; energy conversion and energy storage technologies; modelling, simulation and controls; user-interaction technologies; wireless and internet technologies; algorithms for robotics; autonomous systems, including autonomous driving; data mining systems; and energy technologies.