Los Alamos National LaboratoryEngineering Institute
Addressing national needs by fostering specialized recruiting and strategic partnerships

Science of Signatures Advanced Studies Institute

Developing innovative solution strategies for problems that support the forward deployment theme of the Science of Signatures Pillar, and building skills needed for successful research program development.


The Advanced Studies Institute program is suspended indefinitely as it is undergoing a redesign. Information about the new program will be posted as it is available.


  • Institute Director
  • Charles Farrar
  • (505) 665-0860
  • Email
  • Program Administrator
  • Ellie Vigil
  • (505) 667-2818
  • Email
  • Institute Administrator
  • Yvonne John
  • (505) 412-9518
  • Email
The proposal system is a very different process from what I had initially expected. Learning about all of the intricacies involved was enlightening. - Past ASI Student

Program Description

The Advanced Studies Institute is a professional development opportunity for advanced Ph.D. students (i.e. ones who have completed all of their course work) and postdocs interested in learning skills needed for research program development at National Laboratories/Academia.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)-Engineering Institute invites a multi-disciplinary (e.g. computer science, engineering, biology, physics, earth sciences, mathematics/statistics) group of advanced, highly accomplished Ph.D. students and post-doctoral researchers from around the country to come to Los Alamos National Laboratory for an opportunity to work on multi-disciplinary teams to generate novel, creative solutions to pressing national security problems and build the skills needed for successful research program development at national laboratories and in academia. This program will focus on introducing Advanced Studies Scholars to the process of writing winning proposals and securing research funding.

LANL’s evolving national security mission requires research focused on the forward deployment of advanced measurement technologies, which is part of LANL’s Science of Signature Pillar. We have identified a set of multi-disciplinary, highly-challenging Science of Signatures-Forward Deployment research gaps related to pertinent national security challenges. Advanced Studies Scholars will work in multidisciplinary proposal teams of 3 to generate novel research solutions to these important challenges. Under the guidance of LANL mentors, the scholars will complete preliminary feasibility studies of their concepts and summarize their results in a proposal format. Their professional development will be enhanced not only by their technical presentations on SoS topics and technical interactions facilitated by this program, but also by experienced researchers providing them with advice and guidance on how to develop research programs, write proposals, and secure funding. The scholars will present their proposals to a group of LANL program managers for critique and feedback. They will also have the opportunity to interact with multi-disciplinary researchers from around the country to facilitate future career opportunities and collaborations.


This program is designed for 15 advanced Ph.D. students (those who have completed all of their course work) and/or postdocs (internal or external to Los Alamos National Laboratory). We intend to bring in high quality participants from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds. Students and/or postdocs from all technical disciplines are invited to participate in this program. This program is limited to U.S. Citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents.

Program Format

The students work in 3-person multidisciplinary teams and are assigned a research topic to be studies during the course of the 3-week program. Research topics focusing on Science of Signature-Forward Deployment problems are defined by LANL technical staff for the participants. Prior to the beginning of ASI, the students are given a list of topics and they indicate their preference. Team assignments are based on those preferences and a balance of each student’s particular skills. Teams then work on their respective challenge topics, under the guidance of LANL mentors, with the expectation of creating a research proposal to sell their solution concept. The program culminates with team presentations on their solution concept to a committee of LANL staff and program managers for critical review.

During the program, students attend daily technical and professional development lectures and well as work on their team research topics.  Professional development lectures are given by laboratory staff and managers as well as outside academics on topics including proposal writing, the tenure process, starting a research group at the lab, and commercializing technology developed at the laboratory. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with multi-disciplinary researchers from around the country to facilitate future career opportunities and collaborations, and they will have the opportunity to shape new fields.

The program requires a 100% time commitment by all participants for the 3-week duration of the program.


Expenses will be reimbursed for external participant's travel, lodging, and subsistence for the duration of the program. There is no other compensation offered to either internal or external participants.