Activate Opens Fellowship in Houston, Advancing the Global Clean Energy Transition

Activate launches in Houston, supporting early stage science entrepreneurs in moving from idea to scalable solution

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Activate today announced the expansion of its immersive fellowship for science entrepreneurs with the launch of the newest Activate community in Houston. By promoting the advancement of early stage science entrepreneurs, Activate looks forward to playing an important role in the region’s influential clean energy ecosystem, and accelerating Houston’s role as the world’s clean energy transition capital.

“We are delighted to be opening our newest Activate community in Houston,” remarked Activate Anywhere managing director Hannah Murnen, speaking at the annual Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Innovation Summit (ARPA-E). “Houston is a city where innovation thrives, with an abundance of talent, capital, and infrastructure—the perfect setting for the Activate Fellowship.”

Founded in 2015, the two-year Activate Fellowship clears the path for promising entrepreneurial scientists to move their breakthrough technologies from ideas to scalable solutions. Activate places equal importance on the development of minds as it does on the development of products, with the goal of cultivating the high-impact scientist entrepreneurs America urgently needs and allowing them to think about global challenges in new and innovative ways.

Activate Houston will join a network of Activate communities based in Berkeley, Boston, New York, and across the country (Activate Anywhere1). Activate Houston will benefit from the region’s deep-rooted culture of discovery, innovation, energy infrastructure, top-notch educational institutions, and burgeoning clean energy ecosystem comprising over 130 solar and wind companies (as well as Activate Fellow-founded Fervo Energy).

A recent $20M commitment by the National Science Foundation (NSF) will help fund the expansion to Houston. Commenting on the announcement, Erwin Gianchandani, the NSF’s assistant director for technology, innovation and partnerships, said, “The NSF is delighted to be able to expand access to entrepreneurial fellowships through Activate.”

NSF SBIR/STTR program director Ben Schrag added, “Houston’s diversity offers great promise in expanding access for the next generation of science entrepreneurs and as a center of innovation for advanced energy.”

Recruitment for Activate Houston’s first managing director is actively underway. Activate looks forward to welcoming fellows to Activate Houston in 2024.

“We look forward to helping secure Houston’s position as the energy transition capital of the world,” Activate’s Hannah Murnen concluded.


Founded in 2015, the Activate Fellowship is helping to secure America’s future by developing the next generation of science innovators. With support from government, corporations, academia, and private investors, the two-year Activate Fellowship equips science entrepreneurs with the skills, networks, infrastructure, and funding they need to quickly and effectively bring their groundbreaking research to market. Activate does not claim any ownership rights over fellows’ intellectual property (IP) or take any equity (financial stake) in their companies.

Activate’s 142 fellows, both current and alumni, have developed 106 companies and created over 1,250 U.S. jobs. Fellowships have led to almost 340 patent applications (with 49 granted to-date) and an estimated $1.3B in follow-on capital (with a 92% increase in follow-on funding from 2021-2022).

There are currently five Activate communities: Anywhere, Berkeley, Boston, New York, and Houston (officially launched on March 22, 2023).

Activate milestones since foundation in 2015 include:

  • 142 Activate Fellows received training and mentorship.
  • 106 category-leading companies established, creating solutions in advanced manufacturing, carbon dioxide capture and utilization, clean cooling, energy storage, geothermal energy, materials science, microelectronics, and beyond.
  • 84 percent of the latest cohort developing technologies that address or enable climate change mitigation or resilience.
  • Activate Fellows have collectively raised nearly $1.3B in follow-on funding from leading public and private sources—a nearly 26x leverage for every dollar spent supporting a fellow. These founders have also filed over 340 patent applications (with 49 granted to-date), established more than 470 corporate partnerships, and created more than 1,250 U.S. jobs.



Activate Anywhere is a community of fellows based in emerging innovation ecosystems around the United States. For more information see:


Chris Thomas,

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