ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship

For projects in green energy technology

ECS, in partnership with the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA), 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 research into batteries, fuel cells and hydrogen, and future sustainable technologies. Previous awardees are welcome to re-apply.

Areas of particular interest in the field of Battery include:

  • Lightweight and High Energy Density (Wh/kg) solid state batteries;
  • Enabling metal anodes for liquid and solid-state batteries;
  • Synthesis, characterization, and electrochemistry of novel organic, inorganic, and composite solid electrolytes;
  • Electrode / Electrolyte interfaces with low resistance;
  • Three-dimensional battery systems.

Areas of particular interest in the fields of Fuel Cell and Hydrogen include:

  • Novel materials and technologies that can substantially improve the durability of the membrane electrode assembly of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC);
  • Fundamental research and novel material design for high temperature PEMFCs that can operate in the absence of liquid water and at temperatures higher than 120°C;
  • 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.

Areas of particular interest in the field of Future Sustainable Technologies include:

  • Methods and materials to enable Direct Recycling and Upcycling of Li-ion Battery cathodes;
  • Efficient and effective binder removal and purification from Li-ion Battery electrodes;
  • Recovery, purification, and reuse of Li-ion Battery electrolytes;
  • New materials and electrochemical processes to enable CO2 capture, conversion, and utilization;
  • Novel methods to probe the interface of CO2.

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

Recipients are also required to publish an open access article in a relevant ECS Journal and present at one biannual meeting within 24-months of the end of the research period.

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, etc.

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. For the 2024-2025 award year, the proposal submission deadline has been extended to February 23, 2024.

Selection Process

Proposals are reviewed by the ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship Subcommittee, a joint body of ECS and TRINA 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 TRINA 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. Recipients are required to publish an open access article in a relevant ECS Journal and present at one biannual meeting within 24-months of the end of the research period.

Timeline for 2024-2025 Award Year
Request for Proposals Issued November 2023
Deadline for Proposals Extended deadline: February 23, 2024
Recipient(s) Approved May/June 2024
Deadline for Acceptance/Contract July 2024
Fellowship Timeframe September 1, 2024 – August 31, 2025
6-Month Progress Report Deadline March 2025
Final Report Deadline September 2025
Toyota/ECS Presentation September 2025
Present at an ECS biannual meeting Before August 31, 2027
Publish Open Access with ECS & Present at an ECS Biannual Meeting Before August 31, 2027

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