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Office of the Vice President for Research

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is the largest multi-program science and energy laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy. As part of the original University Partnerships vision, ORNL established a founding group of core partners with the major southeastern research universities, including UVA. Each core partner university has two formal linkages to ORNL: 1) a seat on the Board of Governors and S&T Committee, and a 2) Core University Liaison. ORNL and the core universities work together through the team of University Liaisons. UVA's ORNL Liaison serves as PI on the ORNL Liaison grant and is responsible for the ORNL-UVA Travel Fund Program, which provides funding to faculty, students, and staff in support of the ORNL-UVA relationship. 



UVA’s Office of the Vice President for Research receives funding from ORNL to provide travel grants for students, faculty, and research staff visiting the Lab to use ORNL’s world class user facilities and/or to collaborate with ORNL scientists. The travel grants are intended to facilitate a short-term visit to the Lab, with the goal of establishing long-term collaborations. A short description of these facilities is included below, along with descriptions of ORNL’s Graduate Opportunities (GO!) Program and several funding mechanisms that support student research at ORNL. Travel grants will reimburse up to $2500 for travel, lodging at the ORNL Guest House, and per diem expenses. Graduate students and research staff must apply through their faculty advisor. Graduate students and research staff must apply through their faculty advisor. To apply, faculty members can send an email to that includes:

  • Name and title of the traveler

  • Department

  • Estimated dates of travel

  • Estimated travel costs

  • Short (no more than 1 paragraph) description of the purpose of travel

  • Copy of an email from one of the ORNL user facilities or an ORNL staff scientist regarding your visit

Please be aware of UVA’s travel reimbursement policies when planning your travel and estimating your travel expenses. 

Grants will be considered and awarded on a rolling basis as long as funds are available. If your travel grant is approved, you will receive instructions for reimbursement of your travel expenses. This document is a pdf version of the travel program information, and includes descriptions of ORNL’s user facilities, ORNL's Graduate Opportunities (GO!) Program, and several funding mechanisms that support student research at ORNL. 



Neutron Sciences

Proposals for beam time at ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) and Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) are accepted twice a year, typically in February and again in the fall. Specific information about the call for proposals and about each of the instruments available is included on the ORNL Neutron Sciences web site.

Before submitting a proposal for a specific instrument, please contact the appropriate instrument scientist to make sure your research is feasible for that instrument. A list of instruments can be found here. No sample proposals are available on the website, but you can ask instrument scientists for sample proposals.

Nanophase Materials Sciences

Proposals for access to research capabilities at ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) for user-initiated nanoscience research are accepted twice a year, typically in May and October. Specific information about the call for proposals and CNMS capabilities can be found here.

Contact information for CNMS scientific staff, organized by research capability area, can be found via this link. You should contact the appropriate staff member regarding your proposal. You can see a sample proposal here.

Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility

The resources of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) are allocated via projects. The type of project request (listed below) will determine the application and review procedure. Approved projects will be granted a project allocation of core-hours for a period of time on one or more OLCF systems.

INCITE – The Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program invites proposals for large-scale, computationally intensive research projects to run at the OLCF. The INCITE program awards sizeable allocations on some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to address grand challenges in science and engineering. There is an annual call for INCITE proposals, typically in April with a June deadline. For more information please visit or to submit a proposal visit

ALCC – The ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC) is open to scientists from the research community in national laboratories, academia and industry. The ALCC program allocates computational resources at the OLCF for special situations of interest to the Department with an emphasis on high-risk, high-payoff simulations in areas directly related to the Department’s energy mission in areas such as advancing the clean energy agenda and understanding the Earth’s climate, for national emergencies, or for broadening the community of researchers capable of using leadership computing resources. Applications are typically due in early February. For more information please visit

DD – Director’s Discretion (DD) projects are dedicated to leadership computing preparation, INCITE and ALCC scaling, and application performance to maximize scientific application efficiency and productivity on leadership computing platforms. The OLCF Resource Utilization Council, as well as independent referees, review and approve all DD requests. Applications are accepted year round.



ORNL has established the GO! Program, which is designed to bring PhD students from one of the “ORNL Core Universities” (which includes UVA) to the Lab for a significant part of their graduate program. The intent is for the GO! Program student to act as a “gluon” in a collaboration between the ORNL PI and the faculty advisor. The student will be co-mentored by the faculty advisor and the ORNL scientist, and will spend a significant portion of her/his time at ORNL after qualifying for the PhD. The ORNL collaborator would provide funding to support the student during her/his time at ORNL. Some ORNL funding mechanisms may require completion of course work and qualifying exam. Please contact with any questions.



Some example funding mechanisms that can support UVA graduate students conducting research in collaboration with ORNL are listed below. All of these mechanisms require substantial interaction and collaboration with an ORNL scientist well in advance of applying for funding. Please contact to learn more about these funding mechanisms.

1. Laboratory Directed Research & Development (LDRD) Funds
ORNL PIs compete for internal R&D funds. LDRD funds must be used internally, but in some cases a portion of an LDRD award can be used to support grad students from UVA and other universities who are conducting research at the Lab.

2. Department of Energy Programmatic Funds
ORNL PIs can use their programmatic funds for the DoE to support graduate students, but the research must be directly aligned with the programmatic mission.

3. ORNL Graduate Student Fellowships
Students from UVA and other universities can compete for partial or full year funding to conduct research at ORNL.

4. Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program
Students from UVA and other universities can compete for partial or full year funding to conduct research at ORNL and other DoE National Labs.