ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship

For projects in green energy technology

ECS, in partnership with the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRI-NA), a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), requests proposals from young professors and scholars pursuing innovative electrochemical research in green energy technology.

Population growth, increased production of vehicles, and the global development of industry and technology in the 20th century have resulted in massive consumption of fossil fuels. Today, the automotive industry faces three challenges regarding environmental and energy issues: (1) finding a viable alternative energy source as a replacement for oil, (2) reducing CO2 emissions, and (3) preventing air pollution. Although the demand for oil alternatives—such as natural gas, electricity, and hydrogen—may grow, each alternative energy source has its disadvantages. Currently, oil remains the main source of automotive fuel; however, further research and development of alternative energies may bring change.

Read the rules. Learn more about past fellowship winners:

Fellowship objectives and content

The purpose of the ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship is to encourage young professionals and scholars to pursue battery and fuel cell research. Previous awardees are welcome to re-apply. Areas of particular interest include:

  • Novel materials and technologies that can substantially improve the durability of the membrane electrode assembly of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC);
  • Theoretical studies, advanced characterization methods, and reaction mechanism investigations anticipated to lead to deeper understanding and possible new strategies and material designs to overcome the “scaling rule” of the ORR reaction;
  • Fundamental research and novel material design for high temperature PEMFCs that can operate in the absence of liquid water and at temperatures 120°C;
  • Novel porous gas diffusion layer materials that can promote the transportation of water, gas, heat, and electrons in PEMFCs;
  • New electrocatalysts that can improve hydrogen production efficiency in PEM water electrolyzers;
  • New theory and fundamental research that may lead to the discovery of next generation hydrogen storage materials and technologies;
  • Solid state electrolytes that facilitate the use of metal anodes;
  • Synthesis of new solid electrolytes including both organic and inorganic;
  • Lowering the interfacial resistance for electrodes with a solid electrolyte;
  • High Energy Density (Wh/kg) solid-state batteries;
  • Three-dimensional battery systems;
  • Methods and materials to enable battery recycling;
  • New materials and electrochemical processes to enable CO2 capture, conversion, and utilization.

The fellowship is awarded to a minimum of one candidate annually. Winners receive a restricted grant of no less than $50,000 to conduct the research outlined in their proposal within one year. Winners also receive a one-year complimentary ECS membership as well as the opportunity to present and publish their research with ECS.

Application Guidelines

Recipient Eligibility

To qualify, a candidate must be under 45 years of age and working in North America. The candidate must submit an original research proposal for review by the ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship Committee. The proposed research theme must not overlap with other research grants or other funded research projects.

The recipient must be a member in good standing of The Electrochemical Society (ECS). There are no restrictions or reservations regarding age, sex, race, citizenship, or place of origin or residence.

Proposal Requirements

The format of the proposal is open, but it must present the research target, technical approach, budget, and schedule in no more than three pages. Proposals should be submitted no later than January 31.

Selection Process

Proposals are reviewed by the ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship Committee, a joint body of ECS and TRI-NA representatives. The committee evaluates all proposals based on their alignment with Toyota’s current technical needs; the unique, innovative or unconventional nature of the technical approaches; and the feasibility of the technology to positively impact the field of green energy. The ECS Education Committee then reviews the subcommittee’s recommendation, and if approved, forwards the recommendation for review and approval at the next meeting of the ECS Board of Directors.

Award Acceptance

The selected award recipient(s) sign a grant contract with ECS and are required to submit a midway progress report and a final written report after one year of funding. The recipient(s) are invited semiannually to TRI-NA to present their research progress.

Depending on the research progress and results obtained at the completion of the award period, Toyota may elect to enter into a research agreement with the recipient to continue the work. The recipient must publish their findings in a relevant ECS journal and/or present at an ECS meeting within 24 months of the end of the research period.

Request for Proposals Issued November 12, 2020
Deadline for Proposals January 31, 2021
Candidate Interviews February/March 2021
Recipient(s) Approved May/June 2021
Deadline for Acceptance/Contract July 2021
Fellowship Timeframe September 1, 2021 – August 31, 2022
6-Month Progress Report Deadline January 31, 2022
Final Report Deadline August 31, 2022
Toyota/ECS Presentation September 2022
Publish Open Access with ECS & Present at an ECS Biannual Meeting Before August 31, 2024
Past recipients

Shoji Hall
Piran Ravichandran Kidambi
Haegyeom Kim

Neil Dasgupta
Kelsey Hatzell
Jennifer L. Schaefer

Kimberly See
Iryna Zenyuk

Ahmet Kusoglu
Julie Renner
Shuhui Sun

Elizabeth Biddinger
Joaquin Rodriguez Lopez
Joshua Snyder