JUMP (Join the discussion, Unveil innovation, Make connections, Promote tech-to-market) into STEM is a building science competition for undergraduate and graduate students at U.S. colleges and universities. JUMP into STEM aims to attract bright students from a variety of majors to building science. The JUMP into STEM program seeks to inspire the next generation of building scientists, focusing on creative ideation and diversity in the building science field. The diversity objective is inclusive of an interdisciplinary mix of majors and representation by students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in STEM. JUMP into STEM attracts students from majors such as computer science, data science, statistics, mathematics, physics, economics, sociology, meteorology, architecture, and various engineering disciplines in addition to the traditional building professional degrees of civil and mechanical engineering.

Building science is an exciting technical field that encompasses technologies, services, procedures, and policies supportive of advancing buildings-as-a-system, grid modernization, artificial intelligence, carbon-reduction technologies, the digital economy, and the internet of things. There is a need for an increased number of graduates from building science programs in undergraduate, graduate, and vocational settings to cover workforce gaps in buildings specializations. Additionally, there is a need for graduates of these programs to come from a variety of backgrounds. Buildings are used almost every day by all members of U.S. society. Diversity among buildings professionals will help the industry cover the spectrum in understanding behaviors and needs of building occupants.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories are uniquely positioned to make an impact on building science education. National laboratories, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), have strong teams consisting of expert researchers who are developing technologies and conducting research that will pave the way for the next generation of buildings. These buildings are highly efficient but can also interact with the grid. This knowledge base can be used to develop programs to attract bright students toward building science.


JUMP started as an online crowdsourcing community, launched by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in 2015, designed to motivate engagement in STEM field research and innovation through challenges sponsored by industry and the national labs. Since 2015, the JUMP community has garnered more than 2,000 registered users, with the majority represented by students and small businesses.

Today, JUMP into STEM directs its focus towards students and engages university and college professors from various departments to promote JUMP into STEM challenges as either a modular component for course work or extracurricular development opportunities. A successful pilot ran January–March 2018, culminating in selection of a winner invited to ORNL for a paid summer internship.

Orange logo and gray text saying "Pacific Northwest National Laboratory" on a white background.

Since the 2018 pilot, ORNL has been collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to offer more JUMP into STEM challenges and a final competition in April 2019. Three winners were awarded paid summer internships at ORNL or NREL for summer 2019, and six winners were awarded paid summer internships at ORNL or NREL for both summer 2020 and summer 2021. Beginning in 2022, internships are also available at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). In the summer of 2023, interns from ORNL, NREL, and PNNL joined in the first industry partner visit at Clayton Home Building Group as an enhancement to the summer internship.

Internships will continue to be awarded to eligible winners. Be sure to visit the JUMP into STEM Terms and Conditions for specific rules and requirements. Also review the JUMP into STEM Building Technologies Internship Program (BTIP) application criteria. At the time of idea submissions, students must have submitted their internship application or declined to be considered for an internship. Students are still eligible for internships at ORNL, NREL, and PNNL even if they do not become a finalist or winner through the regular internship application process.

Since 2020, JUMP into STEM has engaged innovative start-ups and industry leaders through Industry Sponsorship. Industry Sponsorships help support student travel to, and participation in, the final competition and other competition expenses. In 2023, Johnson Controls joined the JUMP into STEM conversation with a Platinum Level Sponsorship! To learn more about JUMP into STEM industry sponsorship and upcoming Industry Partner programs, please see here or contact us at ([email protected]).


This program is being funded by the DOE Building Technologies Office.


Be sure to visit the ORNL and NREL social media pages to learn more about the national labs and their ongoing research!
ORNL: Facebook | X | LinkedIn | Flickr
NREL: Facebook | X | Flickr