Applications received by February 25, 2022 will be given priority consideration and review. Please contact the Graduate School at [email protected] if you intend to submit an application beyond February 25 priority deadline to confirm program availability.


The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - Oregon State University Distinguished Graduate Research Program was established as a nationally-competitive effort to elevate the scientific and technical impact of STEM Ph.D. student research at PNNL and OSU. The DGRP is designed to attract a select cohort of Ph.D. candidates with enhanced research opportunities unique to the National Lab system. Candidates selected to participate in the program will receive an assistantship/fellowship for financial support and will benefit from having graduate committee members and access to the world-class research infrastructure the two organizations can provide.

Structure and Financial Support

The program is designed to provide funding support jointly from OSU and PNNL sources. The structure and funding model are described as follows:

  • For years 1 and 2, candidates are appointed to an assistantship funded by departmental or faculty grant funds. The year the student is awarded the fellowship is considered year 1. The assistantship will provide stipend, tuition, benefits, and additional support to cover the mandatory fees. This period of support is intended to cover the time required to complete a majority of coursework.
  • For years 3 and 4, candidates are funded for a 12-month duration by PNNL through a contract to OSU via the OSU Research Office. The PNNL scientist will provide funds for the fellowship stipend, health insurance and mandatory fees on existing or future research projects. The OSU Graduate School will provide tuition waivers for fellowships in these years. Candidates will be primarily located at PNNL though as students’ ability to relocate fully to the PNNL site may vary, PNNL and Graduate School staff will consider flexibility in this requirement under appropriate and compelling circumstances.
  • Requests for extensions to the standard 4-year DGRP award will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but we anticipate such exceptions to be infrequent and only granted under extraordinary circumstances.

Candidate’s Research Projects and Supervision

The program is designed to provide true collaborative research and training opportunity to candidates through OSU and PNNL.

  • The candidates participating in this program will be advised by individuals from both OSU and PNNL. In addition, facilities at both organization will be available to advance the student research.
  • OSU faculty and PNNL scientist will be responsible for the joint supervision and advising of the candidates, and serve on the candidates graduate degree oversight committee. PNNL scientists supervising and advising the candidates will be appointed as courtesy faculty at OSU.


  • The DGRP is open to first year and second year STEM and related science and engineering Ph.D. candidates at OSU. Candidates will be enrolled at OSU as full time students (12 credits in regular terms and 3 or 5 credits for summer term) for as long as the candidate is in the program.
  • Since the DGRP involves candidates and their advisors working on government funded research requiring access to PNNL, a DOE owned facility, the following guidance will apply. All prospective DGRP candidates and OSU advisors who are foreign nationals should check on their eligibility with the program point of contacts before starting on their applications. All selected DGRP candidates and OSU advisors who are foreign nationals will be reviewed for DOE access requirements before the student or faculty member is approved for access information generated at PNNL. Continued participation in the program will be contingent upon meeting the access requirements in effect.

Number of Selected Candidates

OSU will enroll up to five candidates for 2021-2022 academic year.


The DGRP is jointly coordinated by the OSU Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, the OSU Vice-President for Research, and by the Director of Research Partnerships at PNNL. Candidates are jointly nominated to the program by an OSU faculty member and PNNL scientist.

The application consists of:

  • Basic information (name, email address, and Ph.D. program in which the candidate is admitted).
  • The candidate’s CV.
  • A description of the proposed “joint and collaborative” research project from the OSU faculty and PNNL scientist.
  • A Statement of Purpose/Objectives for the Ph.D. study and subsequent career. The statement should specifically include what the candidate hopes to gain from their research effort at PNNL. The candidate should make this component of the application insightful and compelling.
  • Two letters of nomination from (1) the OSU faculty member responsible for the student’s research program and support while being funded by OSU and (2) the collaborating PNNL scientist who will be responsible for the funding during the post-coursework 2 year period of the candidate’s program at PNNL. These letters serve as nomination letters as well as letters of recommendation that summarize the attributes and experiences of the candidate that the advisors believe will help them be successful in this program. The nomination letter of the PNNL scientist should also confirm the PNNL scientist’s intent to cover the monthly stipend and benefits during the candidate’s dissertation research at PNNL for up to 2 years.

Application period: January 3, 2022 - February 25, 2022

Anticipated award notification: April 2022

The assessment criteria for evaluating applications

  • Strength of the candidate’s academic credentials and experience – selecting for the highest caliber candidates for this prestigious program.
  • Ability to work maturely and independently in a national laboratory environment as assessed by the candidate’s past experience, Statement of Purpose/Objectives, and the written recommendations from the proposed co-advisors.
  • Quality of the proposed research and its relevance to the existing and emerging areas of collaboration between OSU and PNNL.

For questions, email Maureen Childers at [email protected].