Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Fellows' Nominations and Selections

The Fellow appointment is an honor bestowed by the Director in recognition of unusual achievement by research and development (R&D) scientists and engineers.


  • Melissa Robinson
  • (505) 667-8152
  • Email

Call for FY18 Fellows nominations

  • Nomination package submission deadline: 5:00 pm, Thursday, April 26, 2018
  • Direct your questions about the call to Melissa Robinson at mrobinson@lanl.gov or 667-8152.

Fellows nomination workshop

The Science Resource Office will host a workshop on how to write a competitive Fellow nomination. Reiner Friedel, director of the Los Alamos' Institute for Geophysics, Planetary Physics and Signatures (IGPPS), will lead the workshop.

Thursday, February 20
3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
JRO 1 and 2 conference rooms
Study Center/Collaboration Space
TA 3, Building 207, Main Floor

The workshop is open to all and registration is not required.


The Fellow appointment is an honor bestowed by the Director in recognition of unusual achievement by research and development (R&D) scientists and engineers. It can be awarded to full-time R&D scientists, R&D engineers, R&D managers, and Program Managers who have been at the Laboratory a minimum of two years immediately before the nomination deadline.


The rank of Fellow is recognition for at least one of the following:

  • Sustained, high-level achievements in programs of importance to Laboratory
  • Fundamental or important discovery that has led to widespread use
  • Having become a recognized authority in the field, including outside recognition and an outstanding record of publications


A call for nominations of Fellow candidates is made annually. Any employee may sponsor a nomination. However, before a great deal of effort is devoted to the nomination package, it is useful to propose the nomination to the candidate's Division Leader or Program Director and other appropriate colleagues and peers to obtain their input. The sponsor may find this helpful in the subsequent preparation of the nomination package. Feedback from previous year’s nominations, if any, should be taken into account. Sponsors are encouraged to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest should they choose to nominate, for example, their manager, a relative, or a close collaborator.

A complete nomination package consists of the following (to be submitted electronically):

  • The completed Cover Sheet/ADC Review Form (pdf). If a classified nomination or reference letter is required for proper consideration of the nominee’s package, please note in the table of contents that classified nomination materials are available and provide a contact for making arrangements to view this material. Do NOT send classified material as part of the nomination package. Please contact Melissa Robinson, SRO Deputy Program Director, for handling instructions for classified submissions.
  • A table of contents in order of requested material.
  • An unclassified letter of nomination from the sponsor, which includes a summary of the nominee’s achievements and an explanation of their significance. See instructions above for submitting classified nomination materials.
  • No more than 4 (internal and/or external) letters of endorsement.  “Hidden” letters of endorsement beyond the four, which are listed in the nomination letter or included by extensive quotation, are not allowed. Letters less than two years old are acceptable (five years in the case of posthumous authors). 
  • The nominee’s current resume.
  • A list of publications that support the nomination criterion or criteria, and, if available, citation index information.

To ensure that publication statistics are developed with the same methodology for all nominations, contact the Research Library (Susan Heckethorn, heckethorn@lanl.gov) for a report on publications, citations, and h-index that can be quoted in the nomination. Other methodologies may yield less reliable results and will be considered less reliable by the panel. Plan for a two-week turnaround for this analysis.

Do not submit classified nomination materials with the package, extra letters of endorsement or “bound” material, e.g., pre-prints, reprints, or publications. The deadline for submission of nominations is 5 p.m., Thursday, April 26, 2018. Submit the ADC-reviewed nomination package to mrobinson@lanl.gov by the specified deadline.


The nominations are screened by a Fellows' Screening Committee, whose members are appointed by the SRO Program Director in consultation with the Principal Associate Director for Science, Technology, and Engineering. The Committee's ranking of the nominees and the supporting nomination packages are presented to the Director who makes the final decisions and appointments. The total number of Fellows in regular employment status at the Laboratory is limited to about 2 percent of the eligible positions.


To help fulfill the goal of achieving a diverse work force in all aspects, sponsors are especially encouraged to consider qualified women and members of underrepresented minority groups for nomination.

Additional information

Each year many outstanding candidates are nominated for the rank of Laboratory Fellow, each of them meeting at least one of the stated criteria as required. However, many of these candidates not only meet one criterion but meet all three to a very high degree. To prepare the strongest package possible for a candidate, nominators should not hesitate to prepare a classified addendum if such will add substantially to the candidate's nomination. (Be sure to follow the submission requirements regarding classified materials.)

The Screening Committee has the difficult task of determining whom to recommend from an extremely talented field. Sponsors often want to know in what way their unsuccessful candidate was deficient. More often than not, the candidate was not deficient in any manner; instead, their competitors were extremely strong in all three criteria. For re-nominations, feedback from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 nominations is available upon request to the SRO Program Director.

The Fellow rank is not intended to be a part of a formal parallel ladder to management. Fellows are expected to continue to play an important scientific or technical role in the Laboratory and the intention is for the appointment to enhance this role. A Fellow normally remains a member of a Laboratory technical division or program office, where the Fellow receives the financial and administrative support generally provided to R&D staff. Specific job assignments for the Fellow are determined with appropriate managers.

The Fellows meet and consider issues of importance to the Laboratory. Laboratory leadership from Division Leaders through the Director often request the opinion and advice of the Fellows individually and collectively on issues important to the Laboratory. Special colloquia and symposia are organized by the Fellows, and they sponsor annual prizes for outstanding research and leadership achievements by members of the Laboratory's scientific and engineering staff.