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Distinguished Staff Fellowship Program

Our application window is now open on through Friday, March 13, 2020 (5:00 p.m. EST). Candidates will be notified by email ( if selected.

ORNL’s Distinguished Staff Fellowship program aims to cultivate future scientific leaders by providing dedicated mentors, resources, and enriching research opportunities at a national laboratory. The program includes the Russell, Weinberg, and Wigner Fellowships. Fellowships are awarded to outstanding early-career scientists and engineers, new to ORNL, who demonstrate success within their academic, professional, and technical areas.

Our Fellows represent a broad range of disciplines and are found in research groups spanning the Laboratory’s research missions.  A key aspect of this fellowship program is a mentorship plan that is designed to facilitate the successful integration of each DSF into ORNL’s scientific community and the alignment of each fellow’s research activities with DOE missions. DSFs are expected to establish the foundation for a long-term career at ORNL.

ORNL offers competitive salaries, benefits, and relocation assistance. More information is available at


Applicants must have received their PhD in a STEM field before they begin their fellowship and can be no more than 5 years beyond receiving their doctorate when they apply. They cannot be current ORNL employees. Because Fellows serve as ORNL representatives with the US Department of Energy and other research and development sponsors, demonstrated leadership skills are also integral to selection.

Application procedures

You must first apply for the DSF Program on the ORNL Jobs website. Visit and search for “ORNL DSF Program.” Click on the job link and complete the application as directed.

As part of the application process at, you will create a profile including work and education history and upload your CV and a cover letter. You will receive a follow-up email request from to submit supplemental materials including reference letters, your transcript, and a research statement (see FAQ #3 for requirements).

Application windows

There are three application cycles per year. The link will be available on Please see FAQ #6 for more information and check back for upcoming announcements.

If you already have a PhD, you are encouraged to apply when the next application window opens. If you do not have your PhD yet, we recommend you apply the semester before you graduate (e.g., apply during the August 2019 application window if you expect to receive your PhD in May 2020).


The DSF Selection Committee reviews application packets once the application window has closed. Candidates who advance to the interview stage will receive formal notification (i.e., email from