Kleinman Center for Energy Policy

Penn undergraduate, graduate, and post-doc students

Deadline: extended
March 1, 2023

Oscar Serpell


During Penn’s 2023 Energy Week, current University of Pennsylvania students and post-docs are invited to compete via TED-style talks for the chance to win up to $1,500 in prizes—a judge’s prize and an audience choice prize. Finalists will give 8-minute talks to a live audience where they will be evaluated by a panel of judges. An audience choice award will also be given.

Applications are due on March 1, 2023. (extended)

The final event will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2023 from 12:00 to 1:30PM.


We are searching for talks that make a meaningful contribution to the fields of energy research or policy. Talks from all disciplines are encouraged and should center on your original academic work (research, writing, etc.) Some examples include:

  • Scientific studies with implications for energy systems
  • The contextualization of energy in society, history, policy, or thought
  • Strategies to meet decarbonization
  • The role of society, culture and cities in the future of energy
  • Community initiatives, pilot projects, or demonstrations related to energy generation or use

Research talks should be accessible to a general audience, should provide context within the wider energy transition conversation, and should avoid all unnecessary jargon.

Why Participate?

  • Practice describing your work to general audiences
  • Receive valuable feedback from our judges and public audience
  • And, of course, the cash prizes…

Submission Instructions

To apply, complete the Lighting Talk application form, which includes a 2-3 minute video abstract of the talk you would like to present.

  • The video abstract should be a “pitch” that introduces yourself, the main question or objective of your research project, and the most exciting result you have to share.
  • The video abstract should to aimed at an audience who is not an expert in your field.
  • You may use one single image or static PowerPoint slide to enhance your video abstract.
  • You can record yourself and a screen share of your single image in Zoom, or in the Panopto interface in Canvas.
  • Your video abstract will not be judged on the quality of the video. Just make sure the audio is clear and understandable.

Selection Process

A panel of scientific and policy researchers will score each application on the below merit criteria with a 1-5 scale. The abstracts with the highest scores will be selected as finalists.

Merit Criteria

  • Presentation accessibility and clarity
  • Original scholarship’s contribution to energy technology and policy
  • Slide design and professionalism (including adherence to presentation length and slide guidelines)

Final Presentation Format

Finalists will be notified of their selection in early March. If selected, finalists should prepare an 8-minute talk and use three (3) or fewer slides. Finalists will present their talks to a live audience at noon on March 23rd in the Kleinman Energy Forum. Each presentation will also have 2 minutes for Q/A.