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Director's Postdoctoral Fellowship

Have you completed your Ph.D. within the last two years? Can you demonstrate a promising career of research and leadership?

Interested in joining our team?

Find your opportunity

Looking for fellowship positions?

To apply for the Director's Fellowship, click the Find Your Opportunity button above and type in the key word "Fellowship."

The NREL Director's Fellowships attracts the next generation of exceptionally qualified scientists and engineers with outstanding talent and credentials in renewable energy research and related disciplines. Complete application packages are reviewed annually from June through September 30.

Candidates are selected based on eligibility, program expectations, and research proposals. Overriding consideration, when evaluating the application, will be the quality of the candidate. Successful candidates will serve a two-year term, with a possible third-year renewal paid with program funding (maximum three-year appointments). The Director's Fellowship includes a premium salary rate, additional funding for conferences/presentations, competitive benefits package, and relocation assistance (for moves greater than 50 miles from NREL).

Research Allowance

Fellows receive a research allowance of $10,000 per fellowship year to cover expenses for professional development activities including:

Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program Funding

  • Travel (domestic/foreign) related to the advancement of project research is allowed within the applied laboratory limits.
  • Purchase of research equipment, materials, software and supplies required to complete the project are allowed if not already available.

Note: Projects are limited to a maximum 24-month period of performance.

Research allowance provided by the research center:

  • Laptops or personal computers
  • Professional development conferences, workshops, and meetings
  • Memberships, books, and subscriptions to technical organizations.


Highly qualified postdocs with a record of superior academic performance; demonstrated research and academic accomplishments in renewable energy technologies; and extraordinary scientific research abilities are encouraged to apply. Requirements:

  • All Ph.D. requirements completed prior to appointment and be at an early point in a promising career of world-class research and leadership in the appropriate discipline
  • Full-time commitment to an NREL research program to extend through the duration of the fellowship
  • NREL researcher/mentor's nomination application for submission to the Postdoctoral Research Review Committee. Search Research Staff to identify potential mentors.

Program Expectations

Successful applicants will meet the same legal requirements required of all NREL employees. Additional expectations for the fellowship program include:

  • Proposed research scheduled to meet the laboratory's overall research needs
  • Annual performance evaluation progress reports
  • Mid-term evaluation/research expectations by mentor and center director
  • Final report due at fellowship conclusion to include: an abstract of the research conducted and copies of publications resulting from the research.

Note: Papers published as a result of research conducted at NREL, must comply with NREL publications procedures and be submitted for legal review and approval.

How to Apply

Complete application packages are reviewed once per year: June through September 30. Fellowships are decided by the end of November. Successful candidates are notified within six weeks of anticipated assignment start date.

Applicants must identify an NREL researcher to mentor the proposed research, and acquire a letter of intent to nominate from the identified mentor. Search Research Staff to find potential mentors.

To apply for the Director's Fellowship click the Find Your Opportunity button above and type in the key word "Fellowship." Submit the following materials:

  1. A letter of interest
  2. Proof of PhD degree prior to assignment start date
  3. Curriculum Vitae
  4. A letter of recommendation from your current supervisor or academic advisor
  5. Research proposal addressing the long-term science and engineering needs which would support the laboratory's mission and goals. (Focus on the proposed research and identify an appropriate area within the laboratory to host the research. Clearly state the research challenges, identify the scientific or technological questions that are associated with the challenge, define the strategy to address these questions, and define an approach—three pages maximum, typed, 11 pt font, include references/bibliography.)
  6. Names and contact information of two additional individuals from nationally known faculty or scientists in relevant disciplines, who are knowledgeable about the candidate's capabilities and research
  7. NREL mentor's letter of intent to support the candidate.

Please note that your application will be considered incomplete if submitted without the required information, and will not be reviewed.

Contact Director's Fellowship with questions about the Director's Fellowship.