JUMP into STEM, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) online building energy-efficiency competition, is entering its third year with three new concurrent challenges open to university student submissions. Challenges will be open through Nov. 13. 

Developed by building science researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the challenges focus on Advanced Building Construction Methods, Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (GEB), and Building Energy Audit for Residential or Commercial Buildings. 

“JUMP into STEM is a key component of the BTO’s [building technologies office’s] strategy to enhance the preparedness of America’s energy workforce,” said Alex Fitzsimmons, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency, DOE. “JUMP into STEM finds innovators in the formative years of their careers, inspiring them to take on the many challenges and opportunities that await them in the building sciences field.” 

A team of more than 30 university professors will include the JUMP into STEM competition as a graded item they assign in their classrooms, although students not enrolled in one of these classes are also eligible and encouraged to apply. These professors represent colleges and universities from across the country, and over half are from historically black colleges and universities or other minority-serving institutions. 

The JUMP into STEM competition, co-led by ORNL and NREL with support from the DOE’s BTO, is open to both undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in or recently graduated from U.S colleges and universities. The goal is to attract a diverse group of innovative students to building science research and address some of the current challenges facing the industry. 

The competition encourages participation from student groups who are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as teams consisting of a broad variety of majors. Traditionally, most building science researchers have been from civil and mechanical engineering programs, whereas JUMP into STEM strives to include additional disciplines, such as computer science, data science, statistics, mathematics, physics, economics, sociology, meteorology, architecture, and public policy. 

JUMP into STEM’s most recent competition awarded two teams the top prize at ORNL in January 2020. The teams represented Clark Atlanta University and the Georgia Institute of Technology and addressed the “Smart Sensors and Controls for Residential Buildings” challenge. This year, selected teams will compete at the final event at NREL on Jan. 28-29, 2021. Winners will receive paid internships during summer 2021 at either ORNL or NREL. 

For more information, visit https://jumpintostem.org