Energy Week Student Lightning Talks: Call for Applications

Energy Week Lightning Talks 

Wednesday, March 13 

Applications due: February 4, 2024 


What is it? 

During the Energy Week Lightning Talks, Penn undergraduate and graduate students share their work in energy research and policy to the broader Penn community! All Penn students and postdocs are invited to apply. 4-6 finalists will be selected to present 8-minute talks in front of a judge’s panel and a live audience. All finalists will receive a $200 award for being selected. 


What topics will be considered? 

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 example topics are:  

  • 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 would I do this? 

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


How do you apply? 

To apply to present a Lighting Talkfill out the form here and upload a 2-3 minute video abstract of the talk you would present if selected: 

  • 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 be 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.  • Your video abstract will not be judged on the picture quality of the video. Just make sure the audio is clear and understandable. 


Final Presentation Format 

Finalists will be notified of their selection in February. 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 on March 13th. Each presentation will also have 2 minutes for Q/A.  


How will finalists be selected? 

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)