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Clean Energy Ministerial 6 (CEM6) 

27–28 May 2015, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico

Public–Private Consortia for Advanced Clean Energy Technology Research


Centers for clean energy technology innovation provide opportunities for stakeholders in the scientific community performing cutting edge research and development to work together in a unique ecosystem that can accelerate the pace of advanced energy technology innovation. Investments in basic R&D, science, and technology innovation contribute to national competitiveness, improve living standards, and further social welfare.

A number of disruptive technologies have initially been funded by government. For example, the Internet, communications and weather satellites, GPS, the standards that became JPEG, and even the search technologies used by Google all had origins in basic research funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

Several innovation-based scientific consortia models have been implemented worldwide with a wide array of results and outcomes. This roundtable would allow interested CEM governments, private sector executives, and academic institutions to discuss this integrated research consortia model, share best practices, and learn from international experiences.

Clean energy technology-focused innovation consortia can bring together research universities, national laboratories, and private sector members to combine basic and applied research with engineering to accelerate scientific discoveries addressing critical energy issues. By integrating academic and federal research programs directly with the private sector, these consortia can quickly bring to market important advances in energy technology.

However, there are challenges that arise when bringing these different entities to work toward the consortium goals. Some of these challenges include: determining the funding mechanisms and resource contributions from the different member institutions; competition between academic and national laboratory research institutes; competition between private sector members; and slightly different approaches to realizing the ultimate research goals between private industry and research institutes.

View the pre-read presentation

Discussion Topics

  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders (government, private sector, academia, NGOs)?
  • Is the role of government more than just a funding entity, e.g., a convener and other roles?
  • Is it the case that only governments have the broad social purpose and long horizon to invest in high-risk research so that society can reap its ultimate benefits?
  • What are the best practices in terms of funding and IP rights?
  • What kind of policies and regulatory frameworks are required to promote international cooperation across countries, private sector and academia?
  • Are there particular unique barriers and opportunities for implementation of public private research consortia in emerging economies?
  • What public–private mechanisms can be created for expanding funding available and accelerating technology development and innovation in the energy sector?
  • What the best mechanisms to align innovation agendas among government, industry, and academia required to build successful R&D partnerships?
  • How can CEM countries, companies, universities and other stakeholders cooperate on these initiatives?
  • What actions and next steps can this group recommend to the CEM countries?
  • What specific measures can the various stakeholders take to promote effective international collaboration on advanced clean energy technology research?
  • How can the CEM play a helpful role in this space?