The Green Technology Innovation Fellows program at Cornell, offered by the SC Johnson College of Business, provides business students, graduate research students, and postdocs focusing on clean energy and climate technology from across Cornell’s colleges an opportunity to immerse themselves in practical technology-based startup creation. Participants receive the tools, training, and entrepreneurial mindset to launch their own startup or become the next set of leaders working in the burgeoning green technology economy.  

The program is built around a workshop course, “NBA 5185, Green Tech Innovation in Practice” that uses participants’ research skills and dissertation topics as the source material for the development of business hypotheses. Cross-disciplinary teams that include the researcher will develop “entrepreneurial judgment” as they decide how to best test their hypotheses and thereby de-risk their potential business models. Experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and faculty provide constructive feedback on participant learnings and project priorities on a regular basis. This course is exclusively offered to students in this program and runs from September to April with six workshop sessions held on weekends in Ithaca.

As part of the program, in addition to completing the “NBA 5185, Green Tech Innovation in Practice,” participants are asked to complement the workshop course with other relevant coursework across Cornell. Additional information about the complementary coursework can be reviewed on the program structure page. Encompassing all necessary coursework, the program generally takes 2-3 semesters to complete. Students who complete all coursework may also receive a certificate from the SC Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Who can apply?

The Green Technology Innovation Fellows program admits Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral fellows, as well as MBA students in equal numbers, in order for all participants to form teams upon enrollment in the program course “NBA 5185, Green Tech Innovation in Practice.”

Ph.D. candidates in the program are restricted to those in the third year and higher conducting graduate-level research on a topic related to sustainability, energy, environmental engineering, agritech, materials science, systems engineering, or similar. Postdocs in the same research areas are also welcome to participate. 

MBA students are restricted to residential (Ithaca) MBAs, and EMBA Metro NY in the final year of their degrees.

While participants do not need to be based in Ithaca to participate, non-Ithaca students are expected to travel to Ithaca on six weekends during the program — at their own expense — to participate. Non-Ithaca students should discuss geographic and program constraints with the program team before accepting a spot in the program.


A new cohort begins the program every August. Program workshops happen on a monthly basis during the academic year. Applications are due and are reviewed in the late spring before the start of the subsequent cohort.  

Applications for the 2024-25 cohort are now open .

If you are interested in the structure of this program, you may also be interested in the Life Sciences Technology Innovation Fellowship.

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