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Director's Fellowship

View NREL's Research Participant Program Video on YouTube.

The NREL Director's Fellowships are designed to attract the next generation of exceptionally qualified scientists and engineers with outstanding talent and credentials in renewable energy research and related disciplines. Candidates must be a recent PhD graduate (within two years of completion), and demonstrate a promising career of leadership and research.

Candidates will be 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 (for moves greater than 50 miles from NREL).

Research Allowance

Fellows will receive a research allowance of $10,000 per Fellowship year to cover expense for professional development activities:

Laboratory Directed Research & 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.
  • Projects will be 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


NREL accepts applications from highly qualified post docs with a record of superior academic performance; demonstrated research and academic accomplishments in renewable energy technologies; and extraordinary scientific research abilities. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Complete all PhD requirements prior to appointment and be at an early point in a promising career of world-class research and leadership in the appropriate discipline
  • Make a full time commitment to an NREL research program to extend through the duration of the fellowship
  • Identify an NREL researcher/mentor to write a nomination application to submit to the Postdoctoral Research Review Committee. Go to and search for Research Staff.

Program Expectations

Successful applicants will meet the same legal requirements required of all NREL employees. Papers published as a result of research conducted at NREL must comply with NREL publication procedures and require submission for legal review and approval. 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 will be reviewed once per year: June through September 30. Fellowships will be decided by the end of November. Successful candidates will be 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. Mentor information can be found among links to Research Staff.

To apply for the Director's Postdoctoral Fellowship go to NREL's Employment Web page. Click on Search and Apply to Openings and type in the key word "Fellowship." Please upload the following information in one PDF in the attachment section.

  1. A letter of interest
  2. Proof of PhD degree by 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 academic faculty and 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 Beverly Maestas, 303-384-7588 with questions about the Director's Fellowship.

NREL is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity.