Mines and NREL formally launched the Nexus initiative in 2019 to strengthen and expand collaboration between the two institutions. The goal is to develop joint research initiatives, partnerships, student exchanges, and funding opportunities in a way that creates more impact by working together than either institution could do alone.

The Nexus Seed Funding grant program, started in 2020, aims to stimulate new research initiatives and connections across the two institutions, featuring faculty and researchers from Mines and NREL. The Nexus seed funding program has been very successful in supporting Mines and NREL researchers in jump-starting ideation on innovative collaborative, interdisciplinary research proposals and prospective funding opportunities (e.g., from DOE, DOD, or other sources).

The program is continuing this year by awarding seven seed funding grants to Mines/NREL teams to initiate, prepare, and submit compelling collaborative research proposals on topics in any aspect of the clean energy research agenda. All teams have two lead investigators – one from Mines and one from NREL. It was a very competitive pool of applicants, and the proposals were carefully reviewed by a panel comprised of Mines faculty and NREL researchers to select the 2023 grantees.

Nexus is pleased to announce the following awards for seed funding in the Summer of 2023!


Machine Learning-Informed Analysis of Remote Sensing Data to Identify Favorable Areas for Enhanced Geothermal Systems. PIs: Nicole Taverna (National Renewable Energy Lab), Researcher III-Data Science and H. Sebnem Duzgun (Colorado School of Mines), Professor of Mining Engineering

Flash activation of conductive oxide materials for low-temperature oxygen evolving anodes. PIs: Megan Holtz (Colorado School of Mines), Assistant Professor of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, and Elliot Padgett (National Renewable Energy Lab), Researcher III-Chemistry, Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

Infrastructure Perception and Control (IPC): Creating Real-Time Digital Twin of Traffic to Create Safe and Reliable Intersections. PIs: Michael Wakin (Colorado School of Mines), Professor of Chemistry and Geochemistry and Rimple Sandhu (National Renewable Energy Lab), Staff Researcher, Computational Sciences 

Development of Biomass Waste Electrocatalysts for Localized Green H2 Generation and Sustainable Hydrocarbon Chemistry. PIs: Nicholas Bedford (Colorado School of Mines) Research Professor of Chemistry, Alan Sellinger (Colorado School of Mines) Professor of Chemistry, Jack Ferrell (National Renewable Energy Lab) Research Engineer, Carbon Utilization and Susan Habas (National Renewable Energy Lab) Bioenergy Science and Technology

Energy-neutral green infrastructure for treatment of pathogens in urban drool and dry weather flowsPIs: John McCray (Colorado School of Mines), Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Scott Struck (National Renewable Energy Lab), Water Systems Research Engineer 

Novel methods for deconstructing plastics and sustainable plastic waste management. PIs: Amy Landis (Colorado School of Mines) Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Alberta Carpenter (National Renewable Energy Lab) Integrated Modeling & Economic Analysis Scientist 

Understanding the Sociotechnical Ecosystems of Energy Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and DeploymentPIs: Katie Johnson (Colorado School of Mines), Professor of Electrical Engineering and Elizabeth Gill (National Renewable Energy Lab), Research Engineer, Wind Energy

Please visit the Nexus seed grant program page for full project summaries!