Be Part of the Innovation

The University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute is building America’s hub for discovery, science and technology talent.

We want to hear your ideas, and we’re always looking for new partners.

Here are just a few of the ways we’re partnering with other colleges and universities, industry and other future-minded organizations.

‘Second-Life’ Battery Storage

UT-ORII is teaming up with Nissan, Middle Tennessee Electric, Tennessee State University and Seven States Power Corporation to launch an innovative second-life battery storage project. UT-ORII is leading the research aspect of the project, with Tom Zawodzinski, UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Electrical Energy Conversion and Storage heading up the effort.

“Partnering on projects like these play a critical role in driving our Ambition 2030 vision and carbon neutrality goals in the U.S.,” said Kent O’Hara, President, Nissan 4R Energy U.S.

This project will repurpose Nissan’s used electric vehicle batteries, giving them a “second life” as a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) at Nissan America’s headquarters in Franklin, Tenn.


Learning Collaborative

In 2022, UT-ORII launched a series of Learning Collaboratives to encourage the sharing of new ideas, best practices and lessons learned, as we work together to build the strongest, most diverse pipeline of STEM talent for our nation.

UT-ORII’s first Learning Collaborative was held in March 2022 with a total of 42 attendants from nine Tennessee universities and colleges, ORNL, Tennessee Achieves and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).

UT-ORII expanded its guest list at its March 17, 2023 Learning Collaborative, with participation from ORNL, IACMI and 17 colleges and universities, including seven or our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Discussions focused on building diverse and inclusive joint educational programs, models for collaborative research, and advancement of novel strategies for innovation and workforce development.

UT-ORII’s third Learning Collaborative is planned in November 2023.

Future Ready Workshop

More than 40 leaders from the Oak Ridge community participated in UT-ORII’s first Future Ready Workshop in 2022. Leaders came together to plan and prepare for the next generation of opportunities and workforce development needs in Oak Ridge.

Leaders from Y-12 National Security ComplexOak Ridge National Laboratory, UCOR, Kairos Power, Carbon Rivers, Triso-X, Tennessee Valley AuthorityEast Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC)City Of Oak RidgeThe Roane Alliance, CROET, Pellissippi State Community College, TCAT, Roane State Community College, the Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and UT-ORII participated.

A second Future Ready Workshop will be announced soon.