Funding Big Ideas

The University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute is expanding funding opportunities for university faculty members and graduate students engaging in UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory collaborative research. Each year, UT-ORII and the Science Alliance invest about $7 million in UT-ORNL joint research.

If you are a UT faculty member or graduate student, or an ORNL researcher with a big idea for collaboration, check out these opportunities for funding.

Convergent Research Initiative (CRI) Pilot Funding

The purpose of CRI pilot funding is to initiate and establish collaborations within CRI communities that will enable future successful collaborative funding applications and jumpstart work with newly recruited convergent research initiative investigators.


The Graduate Advancement, Training and Education (GATE) program supports meritorious, collaborative research between graduate students and ORNL via assistantships and fellowships awarded by individual departments.


The Science Alliance started the PACT program in 2021 to provide support for collaborative research endeavors aimed at securing large extramural funding, such as NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers or NIH RM1 grants.


The Science Alliance started the StART grant program in 2019 to generate new funding for collaborative UT-ORNL teams of scientists and engineers.