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University Training and Research

Preparing the next generation to meet future energy challenges

UCR LogoThe Crosscutting Research program supports two of the longest-running university training programs, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Other Minority Institutions (OMI), and the University Coal Research (UCR). These programs were designed to increase the competitiveness of universities in fossil energy research and discoveries. 

The student-led research programs advance energy technologies and allow for expansion of energy production while simultaneously facilitating energy sector job growth. The Outreach Initiative provides opportunities for qualified students and post-doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers to hone their research skills with NETL’s in-house scientists.

Between 1995 and 2017, NETL has awarded over 130 grants worth $25.6 million to HBCU/OMI and UCR students, culminating in students publishing more than 1,000 technical papers.

Students in the lab
HBCU/OMI and UCR students have increased fossil energy sector exposure, education, and research engagement.

A yearly webinar outlines the program objectives and mission to help students and institutions gain an in-depth understanding of how to prepare and submit proposals. The program sponsors the education, training, and research capabilities in the fields of science and technology related to fossil energy resources. Annual Kickoff Meetings and Project Reviews allow for students to hone their presentation skills, demonstrating their own research, findings and status of all active projects.


The program provides a mechanism for cooperative research among minority-focused institutions, the private sector, and Federal agencies. The central thrust of the program is to generate fresh ideas and tap unique talent, define applicable fundamental scientific principles, and develop advanced concepts for generating new and improved technologies across the full spectrum of fossil energy R&D programs. Since its inception, the program has emphasized improving the energy and environmental capabilities of advanced coal, oil, gas, and environmental technology concepts. The program supports DOE’s Strategic Plan to advance domestic and global industrial competitiveness, clean energy research, national security, diversity initiatives, and environmental quality.


This activity continues to support historically black colleges and other minority institutions including minority supporting institutions (MSIs) with research grants which emphasize coal research for achieving fossil energy’s strategic objectives. The research focus of this continued effort has been on sensors and controls; computational energy sciences; and advanced materials for power generation. Grant recipients are selected through a competitive FOA, based on research topics of the highest priority to FE programs. Grants awarded under this program are intended to maintain and upgrade educational, training, and research capabilities of HBCUs/OMIs/MSIs in the fields of science and technology related to fossil energy resources, with project results being used to further demonstrate DOE’s commitment to fossil energy research. Approximately four to five competitively selected grants will be awarded annually. Each participating university is required to provide research education support for at least one student.  View 2019 Winning Projects!


This activity supports coal research structured to achieve fossil energy’s strategic goals in concert with student education in relevant fossil energy topics. Key research areas supported by this program include near-zero emission power plants, carbon capture; computational energy sciences, development of advanced high performance materials, sensors and controls, and the development of advanced coal power generation systems. The program solicits applications for research projects from universities through FOAs, resulting in multiple grants with a maximum value of $400,000 over a two to three-year period. Given current funding levels, it is anticipated that six to eight competitively selected grans can be awarded annually. In addition, each participating university is required to provide research education for at least one student. View 2019 Winning Projects!

View Project Information

View Factsheet University Training and Research


NETL implements this effort as part of DOE’s Crosscutting Research Program.
Technology Area Contact:

Sydni Credle

HQ Program Manager:

Bhima Sastri