Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



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Frequently Asked Questions

The consortia are funded by DNN R&D to do academic research and train students in areas relevant to our nonproliferation mission. Each student funded by the consortium is required to spend at least one summer at a national lab. This time may be spent doing PhD research, learning new skills (such as data science techniques), or exploring related areas of interest (such as policy). Time at the lab is paid by the consortium through the student’s home institution. Time for lab mentors should be primarily covered by the researchers existing projects. In cases where funding is not aligned to timeline or area of expertise, additional internal LLNL funds may be available to the mentor.
The current consortia are made up of an established group of professors who were successfully awarded the funding. Students who wish to get involved with a consortium should look at the consortia websites (ETI, MTV, NSSC) to find out which universities and professors are involved. Then contact the consortium professors directly to learn about research opportunities.
Yes! LLNL has a variety of internship programs that are not solely affiliated with the consortia. See the Projects page for a list of available opportunities.
Academic affiliations within the consortia are determined by the academic leadership of each consortium. Contact consortium leadership directly (see right sidebar) with questions about extending collaborations to additional institutions.
There are several means of participation open to LLNL staff. You may mentor a student, either short term or longer term. Mentoring may include guiding student research while student is onsite or remotely while the student is at their school, providing feedback on publications and dissertations, and/or serving on a dissertation committee. Student research may be directly aligned with their Ph.D. topic, or outside their main research area (with the goal of broadening their skill sets). LLNL staff may host a professor for an in-residence sabbatical. LLNL staff may also act as subject matter experts to help provide guidance and advice on academic research directions, working primarily with faculty. LLNL staff may also visit universities and present on their research to encourage future student engagement and collaboration.
There is no obligation on the part of either the student or the mentor to commit to a job beyond the term of the student’s visit to LLNL. In practice, successful partnerships often continue when the student returns to their university, especially as publications or the student’s dissertation are prepared.
You will need to post a job opening for your group. Keep in regular contact with the student as they move toward graduation. Many students do not realize the extended timelines required for hiring at the labs, encourage the student to let you know 6 months or more before they plan to graduate. Remember to keep your LLNL consortium POC in the loop as you move toward hiring, they can answer any questions that come up, and may be able to find additional coverage for a prospective employee’s time in the event that you are not able to fully support the position.
Students who are hired directly by LLNL through an LLNL project are paid competitively. Students who come to LLNL on funding from their home institution may be eligible for a cost of living supplement. Please contact your POC for more information.
Students may come for brief visits of a few days to become acquainted with LLNL, summer internships of 10-12 weeks, or longer periods to complete a Ph.D. in-residence (1-4 years).
Time for lab mentors should be primarily covered by the researchers existing projects. In cases where funding is not aligned to timeline or area of expertise, additional internal LLNL funds may be available to the mentor. To apply for these funds, please send a request to the POC affiliated with the student’s consortium (see right sidebar). The request should include a brief (1 paragraph) description of the proposed research, names of academic faculty and students involved in the collaboration, expected start date and duration, effort level, estimated cost of mentor support, and an explanation as to why the researcher’s existing funding cannot be used for this activity.
No, internal LLNL consortium funding cannot be used for research, only for student mentoring.
Summer students should have a well-defined project that can be completed within the term of the visit (typically 10-12 weeks). Students are expected to present this research at the summer student symposium at the beginning of August. Mentors should be onsite and available for weekly meetings with the student during their visit. Extended travel or vacation during the student’s residence is not conducive to a successful student experience.
Although the majority of students work only on unclassified projects, in some cases it may be possible for a student to pursue classified research. Please talk with a POC for more information.
Professors value the opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience at a national lab. Professors often have many students, often with diverse interests outside the mentor’s area of expertise. LLNL mentors can provide more targeted expertise as well as valuable additional mentoring support. These collaborations contribute substantively to the professor’s research, provide students with potential job opportunities, and give both the student and professor additional mentoring support. Additionally, LLNL often has advanced capabilities and facilities that are not available at the professor’s home institution, which may be crucial to the professor’s research.
Student internship programs offer LLNL researchers additional help in executing their projects. Successful internships may evolve into extended collaborations, students returning for additional internships and ultimately postdoc or staff positions at the lab. The consortium program builds a valuable pipeline for future LLNL staff.
The consortium program gives students the opportunity to experience life at a national lab, which is different in some ways from careers in academia. Students also are able to develop professional relationships with experienced lab staff, who can provide guidance and expertise on the student’s research that may not be available through their home institution. Students receive training in areas of immediate need for the national labs, building highly valued skills and perspectives. The consortium program also provides networking opportunities across a diverse array of research areas, exposing students to the breadth of opportunity for impactful careers in national security.

One option is for the LLNL mentor to pay for the student’s summer salary, if they are able. This option helps support the student’s additional expenses while onsite. Alternatively, the student can come through the professor’s consortium funding, but there is not currently a mechanism for supplementing their pay here to manage the additional housing costs, so it may be a financial hardship for the student. Contact your POC to pursue either of these options.

A third option is for the student to apply to one of the summer internships through an LLNL institute program. These programs accept a cohort of students who attend seminars and networking events together for a portion of the time, and spend the remainder doing research with their LLNL mentor. If a student is accepted into one of the institute programs, they receive a stipend through the program that can help with cost of summer housing.

Lastly, there are some more general internships (funded through LLNL) that are posted by groups who need specific projects worked on over the summer. More information on internship programs can be found here.

Students who are hired directly by LLNL through an LLNL project are paid competitively. Students who come to LLNL on funding from their home institution may be eligible for a cost of living supplement. Please contact your POC for more information.
The faculty mini-sabbatical program is designed to bring top academic talent from universities across the U.S. for a 1-3 month visit to the Laboratory to develop collaborations and exchange knowledge, and skills. The Faculty Sabbatical Program has more information and instructions on how to apply.

Other questions? Contact a POC.

LLNL Points of Contact

Vince Lordi (ETI)
lordi2@llnl.gov
(925) 423-2755

Meghan McGarry (CVT, MTV)
mcgarry7@llnl.gov
(925) 424-2397

Vladimir Mozin (NSSC, CNEC)
mozin1@llnl.gov
(925) 423-4492

Scot Olivier, Program Director
olivier1@llnl.gov