Silicon Valley’s new ‘battery university’ will begin offering a two-year Master’s degree program this fall — a first-of-its-kind graduate degree focused on battery technologies.
The battery university is a collaboration between San Jose State University and CalCharge and seeks to expand the skilled workforce needed by this rapidly growing and changing industry.
“We’re really excited about this groundbreaking new program to prepare leaders in an important emerging industry,” said Ahmed Hambaba, Associate Dean of Graduate and Extended Studies in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San Jose State. “When we first started talking about a ‘battery university,’ it was going to start out as a professional training program. But the response has been so overwhelming, the College of Engineering decided to offer a Master’s-level program instead.”
Course topics will range from the basics of battery technology and manufacturing to overviews of market dynamics and policy considerations. Designed to include opportunities for hands-on experience, students will be able to conduct research and market analysis projects with local battery firms. Scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will contribute instructors to the program.
“Our battery scientists at Berkeley Lab are among the best in the nation,” said Venkat Srinivasan, head of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a founding partner of CalCharge. “As a national lab, training the next generation of scientists is one of our missions. To make better batteries we need innovation at every level. Having a workforce trained in the art and science of making batteries is critical to achieving breakthroughs and expanding the number of companies operating here in the U.S.”
The program will initially accommodate up to 30 students who will take classes through San Jose State University’s Extended Studies program via the College of Engineering. Courses can be taken to complete a series of nested certificate programs or for a full Master’s of Science in Engineering with an emphasis in Battery Technology. Working professionals may also elect to take single classes of interest through the program duration as non-matriculated, Open University students. A full list of classes and descriptions is available on SJSU’s Graduate & Extended Studies website.
“Battery technology companies are increasingly confronted by a serious lack of trained professionals to get the job done,” said Jeff Anderson, interim Executive Director of CalCharge and managing director of CalCEF, a group of organizations promoting the development of a clean-energy economy. “The greatest challenge to California’s energy-storage industry is that we don’t have enough skilled workers to take an idea from innovation to infrastructure, which is critical to commercializing, manufacturing, and scaling new technologies.”
Industry experts and investors greeted news of battery university earlier this year with enthusiasm. “Great idea,” tweeted Bill Gates.