About CDI

Mission & Vision

The Carbontech Development Initiation (CDI) at the Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) at Columbia University is a first-of-its-kind, large-scale carbontech market transformation grant-seeding and commercialization hub. CDI connects a global ecosystem of academic, philanthropic, business, and government actors to fill related incubation, personnel, and financial gaps, and cultivates informed and active investment, industrial, and policy initiatives. CDI funds research and development (R&D) both within Columbia University and the broader carbontech space to create a technical ecosystem that can achieve durable market impacts.

With support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), CDI will encourage international participation from entrepreneurs and researchers, work to scale-up the demand-side market (investors, buyers, customers,) and enrich state, federal, and international policy ecosystems. CDI aims to catalyze decades-long carbontech market transformation, locking in an upward trajectory for the sector.


  • Director  Dr. Melissa Lott, Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Managing Director — Erik Funkhouser, Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Research Director — Dr. Alissa Park, Director, Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy
  • Associate Director — John Cornwell, Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Assistant Director — Kartik Pilar, Center on Global Energy Policy

Founding Sponsors

CDI was founded through initial funding commitments from the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Columbia University. CDI is also supported through funding from philanthropic partners.

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Columbia University

Columbia University is one of the world's most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world. Visit columbia.edu and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Columbia News.



NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. As part of New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda, NYSERDA launched the Carbontech Development Initiative, a program to establish New York State as a world-class hub of carbon-to-value research, technology transfer and commercialization. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit nyserda.ny.gov and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

Industry Consortium

The Industry Consortium comprises private and public sector partners who contribute to CDI on an ongoing basis. Industry Consortium members play a key role in guiding CDI’s strategy. In turn, members interact with CDI in various ways each year and derive numerous benefits.

  • Active, bi-directional knowledge transfer between the academic research community; commercial development partners, and key stakeholders;
  • Engagement between member companies and CDI awardees around specific research and commercialization projects, providing early access to research results and inventions;
  • Member exposure to CDI’s academic, industry, and government stakeholders; and
  • Support for member talent recruitment, investment, M&A, and other commercial activities.

Industry Consortium Annual Meeting

The CDI Industry Consortium Annual Meeting brings together industry and academic researchers, students, and experts in the carbontech field. Attendees will learn from specialists in current research initiatives – presentations are provided from a broad range of experts from industry and academia.

The annual meeting is an opportunity to network with industry and academic researchers, entrepreneurs, and experts in the carbontech field.