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Over 100 groups urge Senate to RE-ENERGYSE kids like Obama Promised

RE-ENERGYSE trains students to take on the world of energy

Today, more than 100 universities, student groups, and professional associations signed a letter drafted by the Breakthrough Institute (read the press release) urging the U.S. Senate to fund RE-ENERGYSE, a program aimed at ‘REgaining our ENERGY Science and Engineering Edge’.

With a name like that, who could say no?

RE-ENERGYSE had been gaining speed ever since it was introduced by name in President Obama’s April 29 speech before the National Academy of Sciences. On-par with similar proposals, $115 million for RE-ENERGYSE was figured into the DOE’s budget two weeks later.

However, as Science reported on July 8, Congress sent the proposal back to the DOE, demanding a distinction between current and potential future programmatic efforts. RE-ENERGYSE was given $7 million, embarrassingly shy of $150 million requested. In other words, it was rejected.

RE-ENERGYSE is not just boosting post-doc positions and graduate education – it also provides critically important technical training. According to the DOE, the program would develop 5,000-8,500 scientists, engineers, and other professionals to enter the clean energy field by 2015, which would rise to 10,000-17,000 by 2020. Technical Training and K-12 Education would create 200-300 community college and other programs to prepare thousands of technically skilled workers for clean energy jobs.

The DOE FY2010 budget calls it an initiative to “build the foundation of a vibrant American workforce to participate in the green economy”. One of the raw ingredients for the workforce is quality education, and RE-ENERGYSE aims to provide precisely that – not just better materials science graduates, but better solar panel engineers.

When the low-hanging fruit from various emissions reductions run out, the groups signing the letter hope that quality education will have been in the mix for a long time.

(Photo credit: Time Out Kids)

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Written By

Daniel Spitzberg enrolled in a Masters program in the Spring of 2009. His research focuses on prize incentives that organize science communities (think X-Prizes). Danny believes peer-review collaboration brings environmental research closer to making a real-world impact. Since graduating from McGill University in 2006, he has brought this to bear in projects in the United Nations, TERI India, and here at NYU’s Environmental Health Clinic. He also co-founded (and sold) a company facilitating collaborative group-work. He currently works at The Breakthrough Institute, a high-profile progressive think tank that promotes working solutions for climate policy. Danny works (travels) as a freelance journalist, covering the often-overlooked value to society of breakthrough science research(ers). On land, Danny bikes and runs. On water, he rows on the Charles River.


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