Postdoctoral Fellowship in HED Science

Scientist working with a laser

The High Energy Density Science (HEDS) Center offers a highly competitive, two-year postdoctoral position at LLNL.

Fellowships are awarded to candidates with exceptional talent, scientific track records, and potential for significant achievements. Typically, one new fellowship is awarded each year. Fellows are free to pursue their own research agenda under the guidance of a senior staff scientist who serves as a mentor. The fellows typically conduct their research in a collaborative, multidisciplinary, team-based environment with other scientists.


The fellowship is open to researchers working in all HED-related disciplines, including nuclear physics, plasma physics, hydrodynamics, astrophysics, lasers, warm dense matter, hot dense matter, strongly coupled coulomb systems, high pressure science, laser-driven dynamic compression, matter and material at extreme conditions, interiors of planets and exoplanets, or giant impacts.

To be eligible for the fellowship, applicants must be either (1) in the process of completing their PhD (within one year), and employment at LLNL may not start until PhD requirements have been verified, or (2) have received their PhD within the past five years. Selected fellows typically begin employment between August and October. 

Although U.S. citizenship is not required for application, candidates should be well versed on their current visa status (if any) and be prepared to provide this information should they be selected as a potential fellow.

Application and Selection Process

Application Overview. The application is web-based and includes a statement of interest, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Applications are due by October 1, 2021. You can view detailed information about the application cycle on the application process web page.

Selection Process. The selection committee, comprised of experts in HED science, reviews applications between December and January to select roughly three finalists. We expect to notify finalists in February, who will be invited for an interview that includes a seminar about their current research work. The seminar and interview are important for demonstrating excellent communication skills, particularly the ability to successfully explain specialized topics to a broadly-based, interdisciplinary audience.

Key Selection Criteria. A statement of technical interest, letters of recommendation, and your scientific track record are important components of our selection process. The statement of technical interest is a succinct research plan, where you describe why your research is important and how it will be carried out at LLNL. At least three reference letters need to be submitted by individuals who know you and your research well and can speak to your qualifications and achievements with specificity. Finally, your application will need to highlight first-author publications (in fields where this is relevant) and publications in premier journals (e.g., Science, Nature, or Physical Review Letters), as well as any patents and national (or international) awards and honors.

Learn More. To get a better understanding of research conducted at LLNL that is related to HED science, we encourage you to browse our research articles. It may also be helpful to explore LLNL's Science & Technology Review for other information regarding research conducted at LLNL. In addition, you may find it useful to visit LLNL's main website.

If you still have questions regarding the HEDS Center Postdoctoral Fellowship, contact Jessica Karlton, the HEDS Center Administrator, at karlton1 [at]