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Young Innovators Climate & Energy Program

students view Chicago skyline

To meet the global energy challenge, the next generation of climate and energy scientists must address the need for reliable, affordable energy to foster economic growth while averting climate change and damages to the environment. Young Innovators Climate & Energy Program is a week-long enrichment program designed to prepare high school students for future careers in climate and energy policy. Through rigorous discussion-based classes, readings, lectures, and collaborative hands-on projects, students will learn about pressing current issues in climate and energy from leading faculty in the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), the Becker Friedman Institute, and the Climate Impact Lab.

Students will also be exposed to the kinds of opportunities available in a large urban center for academic work and professional development (as well as just for fun!) through activities that showcase the city of Chicago.

The program will be hosted on-campus, and program participants must reside in campus housing for the duration of the program. This program is being offered at no cost to selected participants, and participants who require financial assistance for travel to and from campus are eligible to receive additional funds.

Program Contact: All questions should be directed to Willem Gerrish at

Application Requirements

Applicants should be at least 15 years of age and be a current high school sophomores and juniors enrolled in a high school in the United States.

Applications will be accepted online beginning January 3, 2023. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2023. All application decisions for this program will be released at the same time in mid-April. There is no application fee to apply.

Applicants must complete the Summer Session Application and all related requirements, which can be reviewed in the How To Apply section.

Application materials include:

  • Online application
  • Transcript (official or unofficial)
  • Supplement & essays
  • At least one teacher recommendation
  • At least one parent confirmation email received

Applicants will be asked to respond to the following essay questions in the application:

  • Why did you choose the particular program/courses for which you have applied? How are they related to your current interests and future plans? Please be as specific as possible, and make sure your response covers each of the courses you elected. (Limit: 500 words)
  • “Since its founding, the University has been committed to the idea that a culture of rigorous inquiry requires an environment where diverse perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas inform and stimulate intellectual exchange, challenge, and engagement.” -UChicago Office of the Provost. How does your perspective, experience or background contribute to this culture of inquiry in this program? What do you hope to gain or learn by engaging with peers from all over the U.S. or from different parts of the world? (Limit: 300 words)

Tuition & Fees

Costs for the program, inclusive of tuition, room, and board, are completely covered. If students require financial assistance to cover roundtrip travel, please complete the financial aid application, which is part of the Summer Session Application.

Course Dates

July 23 - July 28

Class starts: July 24

Class concludes: July 28

Arrive on-campus: July 23

Closing session and move-out: July 28