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Postdoc Program

Explore the multiple dimensions of a career at Los Alamos National Laboratory: work with the best minds on the planet in an inclusive environment that is rich in intellectual vitality and opportunities for growth.

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  • Program Manager
  • Mary Anne With
  • Postdoc Program
  • (505) 665-5306
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  • Postdoc Program Office
  • (505) 665-5306
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Science in "3" Event

Science in "3" is highly anticipated event available each year for postdoc participation.

Postdoc Program

Perform research in a robust scientific R&D environment

The Postdoctoral (Postdoc) Research program offers the opportunity for appointees to perform research in a robust scientific R&D environment, present and publish research, advance knowledge in basic and applied science, and strengthen national scientific and technical capabilities.

Prospective postdocs

To be considered for a postdoc appointment, a candidate must be nominated and sponsored by a member of the Laboratory's technical staff.

A candidate can identify a sponsor by

  • reviewing research being conducted at the Lab
  • networking at conferences and workshops
  • reviewing journal articles
  • attending university recruiting events

Selection for postdoc appointments is competitive, determined by the candidate's academic qualifications and research excellence. Laboratory technical staff review postdoctoral CVs and contact candidates who are a strong match for their research.

The first step in the application process without a sponsor is submitting your application to IRC#90714 on the LANL Jobs web page. IRC#90714 is the general vacancy for Postdoc positions at LANL, or you may apply to a specific job vacancy which you have identified.

Apply to Postdoc Program

Application Process

Submit general application or apply for specific posted position

For initial consideration, you can submit a general application to the Postdoctoral Research program and/or for a specific posted position. Access the general application or view specific posted postdoc positions.

You may apply to as many posted postdoc positions as you like, provided you are interested in and qualified for them. We recommend modifying your cover letter to address the specific technical points of each job. Your online application will also place you on an applicant listing for technical staff that are searching for suitable candidates.

Every postdoc applicant must be sponsored by a technical staff member to be considered for a postdoc position. To identify a potential sponsor, you can review the Science Organizations and Science & Innovation areas of the Laboratory. In addition, you can meet potential sponsors by attending national and international conferences and workshops, networking with colleagues, or scanning journal publications.

All postdoc appointments must be approved by the Postdoctoral Committee before an offer can be extended. The sponsor along with the candidate is responsible for compiling the Postdoc Application Package (pdf) and submitting it to the Postdoctoral Committee for review once complete.

Postdoctoral Appointments and Reviews

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate - Sponsored postdoctoral candidate packages can be submitted at any time and are reviewed by the Postdoctoral Committee throughout the year.
  • Agnew National Security Postdoctoral Fellow - Sponsored candidate packages will be reviewed by the Postdoctoral Committee during the May quarterly review.
  • Information Science and Technology Institute (ISTI) Postdoctoral Fellow - Sponsored candidate packages will be reviewed as funding is available.
  • Mark Kac Postdoctoral Fellow in Applied Mathematics - Sponsored candidate packages will be reviewed during the May Quarterly Review.
  • Chick Keller Postdoctoral Fellow – Sponsored candidate packages will be reviewed during the May and December quarterly reviews.
  • Director's Postdoctoral Fellow - Sponsored candidate packages will be reviewed by the Postdoctoral Committee during each of the quarterly reviews.
  • Nicholas C. Metropolis Postdoctoral Fellow - Sponsored candidate packages will be reviewed by the Postdoctoral Committee only during the February quarterly review.
  • Distinguished Curie, Feynman, Oppenheimer, and Reines Postdoctoral Fellows- Sponsored candidates packages will be reviewed by the Postdoctoral Committee only during the December quarterly review.

Postdoc candidate package* submission deadlines and reviews:

  • February Review - Submit by early January, outcome mid February
  • May Review - Submit by early April, outcome mid May
  • August Review - Submit by early July, outcome mid August
  • December Review - Submit by early November, outcome mid-December

*Candidate package is prepared and submitted by the sponsoring mentor(s)

Appointment Types

Types of Appointments

Most selected candidates will be offered a Postdoctoral Research Associate appointment. Each year, approximately 30 Postdoctoral Fellow appointments, including the Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows, are awarded.  Initial appointments are for two years, three years for the Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows.

Postdoctoral Research Associates pursue research as part of ongoing LANL science and engineering programs. Funding is provided through programmatic or Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) funds. Sponsored postdoctoral candidate packages are reviewed throughout the year.

Fellows

Harold Agnew National Security Postdoctoral Fellows* pursue cutting-edge experi­mental, theoretical, computational science, and engineer­ing research aligned with the national security mission (Research Areas). Sponsored candidate packages will be considered during the May Quarterly Review.

Director's Postdoctoral Fellows collaborate with LANL scientists and engineers on staff-initiated research. Selections are made based on academic and research accomplishments, the strength of the proposed research, as well as their potential impact at the Laboratory. Sponsored candidate packages will be considered during each Quarterly Review.

Information Science & Technology (ISTI) Postdoctoral Fellows pursue cutting-edge research in data science and artificial intelligence infrastructure as well as computational and data integrity. (Research Areas). Initial appointment is for two years and is funded thru ISTI. The allocation of funds will be as follows: 1st year - 1/2 funding, 2nd year – 1/2 funding, and if extended for a 3rd year, 1/4 funding. Sponsored candidate packages will be considered as funding is available.

Mark Kac Postdoctoral Fellows in Applied Mathematics will pursue cutting-edge research in DOE-relevant areas of applied mathematics. (Research Areas). Up to one Fellowship will be selected each year. The DOE Office of Applied Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) and the Center for Nonlinear Studies (CNLS) jointly sponsor these appointments. Appointments are for two years and full funding will be provided. Sponsored candidate packages will be considered during the May Quarterly Review.

Chick Keller Postdoctoral Fellows in Space and Earth Science pursue cutting-edge experimental, theoretical, computational, and engineering research covering one of the four Center for Space and Earth Science (CSES) Science Disciplines: Astrophysics and Cosmology, Space Science, Solid Earth Geoscience and Climate Science (Research Areas). Details regarding the science topics can be found on the Chick Keller Postdoctoral Fellowship website.  For more information, contact chick_keller@lanl.gov. Sponsored candidate packages will be considered during the December Quarterly Review.

Nicholas C. Metropolis Postdoctoral Fellows* pursue cutting-edge research in the areas of computational and computer science, physics, and engi­neering. Computer simulation capabilities are developed in support of the stockpile stewardship program together with broader national nuclear security needs. Selected candidates will have access to the most powerful supercomputers in the world (Research Areas). Sponsored candidate packages will be considered during the February Quarterly Review.

G.T. Seaborg Postdoctoral Fellows – Named after the principal or co-discoverer of ten transactinide elements and co-recipient of the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, this fellowship is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding ability to conduct research and have proposed experimental or theoretical projects that advance the Laboratory’s actinide and nuclear science mission. Further information can be found on the Seaborg Postdoctoral Fellowship website.

Distinguished Fellows

Meet the current Los Alamos National Laboratory Distinguished Postdocs

Candidates must display extraordinary ability in scientific research, potential to impact Laboratory programs and/or ability to establish new capabilities, and show clear promise of becoming outstanding leaders. These fellowships provide the opportunity to collaborate with LANL scientists and engineers on staff-initiated research. To be considered for one of the Distinguished Fellow appointments, candidates must be nominated and sponsored by a member of the Lab's technical staff. Sponsored candidate packages will be reviewed during the December Quarterly Review.

Richard P. Feynman (RPF) Fellow in Theory and Computing* - Named after the famed theoretical physicist and winner of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics, this fellowship recognizes individuals whose research is in theory or computing.

Darleane Christian Hoffman (DCH) Fellow  -Named after the distinguished Los Alamos nuclear scientist and recipient of the U.S. National Medal of Science, this fellowship recognizes, encourages, and rewards outstanding scientific and engineering contributions by women.

Robert Oppenheimer (JRO) Fellow- Named after the Laboratory’s first Dir­ector, this fellowship recognizes individuals whose research aligns with the Laboratory’s mission.

Frederick Reines (FR) Fellow in Experimental Sciences* - Named after the former LANL researcher who was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics, this fellow appointment recognizes individuals whose research is in experi­mental sciences.

*Candidates must have the ability to obtain a DOE “Q” security clearance, which usually requires U.S. citizenship.

Postdoc application review schedule and deadlines

February Review

Sponsored* candidate packages are submitted by early January, with outcome of review in late February

May Review

Sponsored* candidate packages are submitted by early April, with outcome of review in late May

August Review

Sponsored* candidate packages are submitted by early July, with outcome of review in late August

December Review

Sponsored* candidate packages are submitted in late October, with outcome of review in mid December

* Sponsored means a Los Alamos National Lab staff member/mentor has been identified for the candidate. If a sponsor has not been identified, please submit your application no later than the beginning of the month prior to the deadline to allow sufficient time to identify a mentor.

Partnership Appointments:

University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

The University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program was established in 1984 to encourage outstanding women and minority Ph.D. recipients to pursue academic careers at the University of California. The current program offers postdoctoral research fellowships, professional development and faculty mentoring to outstanding scholars in all fields whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity at UC.

UC-Affiliated National Laboratory partners

In 2012, the UC-Affiliated National Labs joined in a collaborative partnership with the University of California to offer UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), coupled with mentoring, professional development and networking opportunities. The UC-Affiliated National Labs seek Ph.D. recipients with the potential to contribute to diversity and equal opportunity science and technology through their research careers. The program is particularly interested in candidates with the potential for research and public service informed by the perspective that comes from their understanding of the experiences of groups historically underrepresented in science and technology fields.

Applicants for President’s Postdoctoral Fellowships at one of the UC-Affiliated National Laboratories must submit an online application through the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program application system. For general questions about the UC-Affiliated National Laboratories President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, please email ppf_nationallabs@lanl.gov.

Eligibility

LANL Postdoctoral Position

Candidates are eligible to apply for a LANL postdoctoral position within five years of receiving their PhD and within the Postdoc Program Office submission deadlines corresponding to the quarterly meeting being proposed, or the candidate will have completed all PhD requirements by hire-on date. If a current LANL postdoc is being considered for a different type of appointment, the Postdoc Program Office submission deadlines corresponding to the quarterly meeting being proposed must be within one year of the postdoc's original hire date and also within five years of the candidate receiving his/her PhD.

Postdoctoral Fellow

A candidate may be considered two times for a Postdoctoral Fellow (Agnew, Director's, Metropolis) appointment. If unsuccessful the first time reviewed and hired as a Research Associate, resubmission for a Fellow appointment must be within one year of the initial hire date and within the Postdoc Program Office's submission deadlines that correspond to the quarterly meeting being reproposed. If the candidate is not currently a LANL postdoc, the candidate can be reconsidered one additional time with no time limit for resubmission other than the candidate is within five years of receiving a PhD.

Distinguished Fellow

A postdoctoral candidate can only be considered one time for a Distinguished Fellow appointment in December. If currently a LANL postdoc, the candidate must be proposed at the first December quarterly meeting after the candidate's initial date of hire.

LANL GRAs applying for LANL postdoctoral appointments

Candidates who have conducted graduate research at the Lab need to submit a research project that demonstrates substantial changes in topic/direction or the candidate may be ineligible. The goal is to broaden the overall research experience and opportunities of the candidate. The postdoctoral committee considers factors such as

  • substantial change in research topic/direction
  • change in Laboratory advisors and/or sponsoring organization
  • extent to which thesis research direction was provided by LANL staff
  • length of graduate residence at the Laboratory
Salary Guidelines

How postdoc salaries are determined

Postdoctoral Fellows and Postdoctoral Research Associates

Salaries are based on the date the PhD degree requirements were completed or degree was awarded. On the anniversary of the PhD date, salaries are automatically adjusted to the next level. Starting salaries may vary from the guidelines due to market conditions, competitive offers, etc. If a salary other than the guidelines is requested, a justification memo is prepared and submitted to senior management for consideration.

  • PhD + 0 years              $79,500
  • PhD + 1 year               $81,000
  • PhD + 2 years              $83,000
  • PhD + 3 years              $85,000
  • PhD + 4 years              $87,000
  • PhD + 5 years              $89,000
  • PhD + 6 years              $91,000
  • PhD + 7 years              $93,000

Distinguished Postdoc Fellows

Feynman, Hoffman, Oppenheimer, and Reines Distinguished Postdoc Fellows

  • Starting Salary                       $111,000
  • Distinguished + 1 year           $113,000
  • Distinguished + 2 years          $115,000
On the anniversary date of the appointment, salary will automatically adjusted to the next level.