The Lawrence Fellowship is a highly-competitive postdoctoral position at LLNL that is open to all technical disciplines. Fellowships are awarded to candidates with exceptional talent, scientific track records, and potential for significant achievements. Typically, two to four fellowships are awarded each year, and the awards are for three years. Fellows are free to pursue their own research agenda under the guidance of a senior staff scientist who serves as a mentor. The fellows most often conduct their research in a collaborative, multidisciplinary manner with others in a team environment.
Application: The application is web-based and includes a CV, a statement of interest, a project relevance statement, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Applications are accepted beginning in early August.
Key Selection Criteria: The statement of technical interests, letters of recommendation, and your scientific track record (publication record) are all very important. Candidates who reach the pool of finalists are invited for a two- day interview that includes a seminar about their current research work. The seminar and interview are important for demonstrating excellent communication skills, particularly the ability to successfully explain specialized topics to a broadly-based, interdisciplinary audience.
The statement of technical interest is a succinct research plan. Since the committee is composed of scientists from many different disciplines, the statement should be understandable to a broad technical audience but should also include enough details to satisfy experts in your field. It is important to convey why your research is important, why the work should be done at LLNL, and how you will carry out the research. Because of the committee make-up, it is recommended that you lead with your science application; it is a lot more difficult to promote research that focuses on enabling technologies. The committee is looking for candidates with a vision, a plan, and a track record that indicates that the candidate will succeed.
References should know you and your research well and be able to speak to your qualifications and achievements with specificity.
First-author publications (in fields where this is relevant) and publications in premier journals (such as Science and Nature), patents, and national (or international) awards and honors are also important to highlight.
It may be helpful to explore LLNL's publication, Science and Technology Reviews for additional information regarding current research being conducted at LLNL. Visiting LLNL's main website may also be helpful.
Process: Applications are due on October 1. The selection committee, comprised of ten voting members representing various technical organizations in the laboratory, reviews applications between October and November to select roughly six finalists from the hundreds of applications. Between mid-December and early February, selected finalists are invited to LLNL for two days of interviews and to give a seminar. Hiring decisions are made in mid-February.
Outcomes: At the conclusion of the fellowship, approximately 60% of the fellows secure a staff position at LLNL. The majority of those who leave obtain tenure-track positions at top-tier universities including MIT, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. A number of former fellows have started their own companies.