brushed metal background
HBCU Clean Energy Education Prize logo

HBCU Clean Energy Education Prize

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Clean Energy Education Prize will award up to $7.75 million to HBCUs working to expand clean energy learning opportunities for younger generations, build robust programming that provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and establishes partnerships that lead to career opportunities in clean energy.


A growing clean energy economy presents an opportunity to include those who have been historically underrepresented in the clean energy industry. In response, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the HBCU Clean Energy Education Prize to expand clean energy education opportunities for Black students and provide them with the skills and opportunities they need to excel in clean energy careers. The prize includes two tracks—the Inspire Track and the Partnerships Track—that empower HBCUs to encourage student engagement in the clean energy space.

man talking to group with small windmill prototype in his hand

Inspire Track

classroom child making windmill out of a water bottle.

The Inspire Track supports the development and expansion of HBCU-hosted clean energy summer or academic break programs for K-12 and community college students. These programs may last 1-6 weeks and will focus on student education and access to clean energy technologies, solutions, policies, research, and more. Example topics include renewable power, sustainable transportation, and energy efficiency. These programs will help illuminate possible clean energy educational and career pathways for students. The track includes two phases over which competitors will submit plans for the development of these programs and provide follow-up metrics.


In Phase 1 of the Inspire Track, 10 HBCUs were awarded $40,000 for their impressive work designing clean energy-focused academic break programs for K-12 and community college students.

map with winners from American-Made Challenges HBCU Prize Inspire Track

Partnerships Track

graduate hugging their fellow graduate

The Partnerships Track supports building partnerships between HBCUs and other universities, government agencies, and industry leaders to inform new programs and provide professional opportunities that will equip HBCU students with the skills needed to succeed in the clean energy industry. Example programs include cross-university exchange programs, student design or capstone projects, clean energy certificate programs, industry mentorship programs, and more. The track is comprised of three phases over which the competitors will initiate partnerships, develop plans, and build a cohesive partnership program.


  • Phase 1: Up to 10 winners will each receive a $100,000 cash award.
  • Phase 2: Up to 10 HBCU winners will split a total prize pool of up to $4,000,000 and be eligible to compete in Phase 3.
  • Phase 3: Up to three HBCU winners will split a total prize pool of up to $1,750,000.

Who is Eligible to Compete?

All HBCUs in the United States and U.S. territories are eligible to apply to one or both tracks. For more details, please read the official rules document.

Solutions that help shape the future

Ready to foster the next generation of the clean energy workforce? Join the challenge by following the HBCU Clean Energy Education Prize on HeroX, the official prize platform.

Follow the HBCU Clean Energy Education Prize