Director's Postdoctoral Fellowship

Have you completed your Ph.D. within the last 2 years? Can you demonstrate a promising career of research and leadership?

The NREL Director's Fellowship attracts the next generation of exceptionally qualified scientists and engineers with outstanding talent and credentials in renewable energy research and related disciplines. One of the fellowship positions is named the Nozik Fellowship, in recognition of Emeritus Senior Research Fellow Arthur J. Nozik and his outstanding scientific contributions to renewable energy.

Interested in Fellowship Positions?

Fellowships are available in three disciplines. Please apply to your area of interest.

The Director's Fellowship application process is as follows:

Steps Spring Applications Fall Applications
Window opens Jan. 1 June 1
Window closes* March 31 Aug. 31
Application review April 1–May 15 Sept. 1–Oct. 15
Interviews June 1–21 Nov. 1–21
Hire decision mid-July mid-December

*Applications submitted after the closing date will not be reviewed.

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 2-year term, with a possible third-year renewal paid with program funding (maximum 3-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, provided by the research center, of $10,000 per fellowship to cover expenses for professional development activities including:

  • Professional development conferences, workshops, and meetings
  • Memberships, books, and subscriptions to technical organizations.

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.


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.


  • 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
  • Must have graduated from your Ph.D. program within 2 years of the Director's Fellowship application deadline
  • 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. See Research to identify potential mentors. For questions about mentors, email

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

Completed application packages are reviewed during the application window, and candidates are selected prior to the next open window.

Applicants must identify an NREL researcher to mentor the proposed research and acquire a letter of intent to nominate from the identified mentor. The mentor chosen must also have a doctorate. See Research to find potential mentors. For questions about mentors, email

To apply for the Director's Fellowship, choose one of the three discipline options above.

You must combine all items below into one PDF document, and upload it under the resume option:

  1. Cover page (include name, title of proposal, and NREL mentor)
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. A letter of recommendation from your current supervisor or academic advisor
  4. Research proposal addressing the long-term science and engineering needs that 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. Please download and complete the proposal template and submit it with your application to the Director's Fellowship.
  5. NREL mentor's letter of intent to support the candidate
  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. Proof of doctorate degree prior to assignment start date.

Your application will be considered incomplete if submitted without the required information and will not be reviewed.

Contact Director's Fellowship with questions.