Cyclotron Road Program Update
Cyclotron Road is an important Berkeley Lab service that offers expertise and capabilities from across the Lab to science entrepreneurs, to help them accelerate the commercialization of their game-changing energy technologies. The first of the DOE’s four Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs (LEEP), it has been housed in the Energy Technologies Area (ETA) for the past seven years.
Cyclotron Road will now be managed at the Strategic Partnerships Office (SPO), to become an integral part of the Deputy Lab Director for Research’s organization, and to reflect the Lab-wide nature of Cyclotron Road. The move was effective October 1, 2022.
“We believe that this move will help Cyclotron Road be more widely subscribed to by all of our areas and divisions: they will have broader awareness of and ability to interact with the program, be better able to provide input on Cyclotron Road’s direction, strategy, and focus areas, and have increased opportunities for researchers and staff to work with Cyclotron Road fellows,” said Carol Burns, the Lab’s deputy director for research.
Cyclotron Road has already generated significant value. To date, in partnership with the nonprofit Activate, it has supported 86 entrepreneurs who have generated almost a billion dollars in additional public and private funding, and who have hired more than 900 employees as they have begun to scale their companies for broad societal impact. Among its successes: a company that offers wireless charging for medical devices implanted in the human body; a company that makes plant-based bacon from seaweed; and a company, recently purchased by Volkswagen partner Northvolt, that makes lithium metal batteries that offers dramatic improvements in performance, safety, and thermal durability.
Under Todd Pray’s leadership at SPO, Cyclotron Road will be able to work closely with SPO to support technology development and commercialization through public-private partnerships. “The SPO team already manages Cyclotron Road members’ Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, and is already deeply familiar with Activate and the Cyclotron Road member companies and fellows," Pray said. "We are looking forward to working with our new Cyclotron Road team members to maximize synergies across our work.”
As part of this move, Melanie Sonsteng, who will continue to be Cyclotron Road’s program manager, will transfer to SPO. Tom Kirchstetter will continue to be closely involved with the program as its chief science advisor.
Kirchstetter said, “I continue to be inspired by the entrepreneurs who are dedicated to helping us realize a cleaner, brighter future, and look forward to more amazing accomplishments from the new fellows in our 2022 cohort and beyond.”