Office of Naval Research Laboratory Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

About the Postdoctoral Program

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) sponsor Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs at a number of Naval R D centers and laboratories. The program is designed to significantly increase the involvement of creative and highly trained scientists and engineers from academia and industry to scientific and technical areas of interest and relevance to the Navy.

The Naval Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs provide approximately forty-five (45) new postdoctoral appointments per year. Fellows are competitively selected on the basis of their overall qualifications and technical proposals addressing specific areas defined by the host Navy laboratories. The selected participants will work in a unique Navy laboratory environment, while interacting with senior laboratory scientists and engineers.

Selection of Participants

Fellowship awards will be based upon the technical quality and relevance of the proposed research, recommendations by the Navy laboratories or centers, academic qualifications, reference reports, and availability of funds.

Research Proposal

You will then need to contact the research facility at which you are interested in working in order to develop a suitable research proposal. Proposals developed closely with the proposed host facility stand the greatest chance of success in the selection process. The 5-10 page proposal should be prepared addressing a problem of mutual interest to the applicant and the Navy research facility. Since the proposal is a basic component of the application, it should be a concise, well-written statement of the proposed research.

The research proposal should present the goals of the proposed research endeavor and should set forth plans to achieve them. A clear objective of the research and the results that will be delivered will be an important criteria. Background material, such as previous studies done, and motivation for the proposed research should also be included. The approach planned should be stated in order to understand the direction of the research. A time frame for the research should be proposed and the importance and benefits to the Navy should be explained.


Official Transcripts are required for each level (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral) of education. Transcripts should be sent to ASEE projects office.


Competitive stipends are offered depending on the host laboratory. Current year one stipends are listed below and are based on location:

NRL-DC $94,199

NRL-Monterey, CA $102,489

NRL-Stennis, MS $82,830


Awards are for one year, and are renewable for a second and third year, given satisfactory performance and availability of funds.


Job-related injury or death will be covered by insurance. A group health insurance program is available for participants (partially paid for by the fellowship) and optional for dependents (paid for by participant).

Relocation and Travel

A travel and relocation allowance will be paid. The amount will be determined by negotiation based on the personal situation of each participant. Funds will be made available for limited professional travel, provided such travel is recommended and approved by the host laboratory and approved by ASEE. Relocation is only paid out after an offer has been made to participate in the program by ASEE.

Obligation to the Government

A Postdoctoral Fellow does not incur any formal obligation to the government of the United States. However, the objectives of this program will be best served if the Fellow pursues research or teaching in disciplines meeting the continuing needs of naval technology. Fellows must devote their time to the approved research program and must be in-residence at the sponsoring laboratory during the entire period of the award. No additional monetary aid or other remuneration may be accepted from another appointment, fellowship, or similar grant during the period of the award.


Postdoctoral Fellows are encouraged to publish in open literature. Credit should be given to the Naval Research Laboratory for publications resulting from research conducted at Navy facilities.


  • Citizenship: Opportunities at NRL are open to citizens of the United States and to legal permanent residents.
  • Permanent Resident Status-All permanent residents applying to the NRL program must have their green card at the time of application.
  • Security Clearance: It is anticipated that the basic research undertaken by the participants will usually be unclassified, in which case the participants will only need to be processed for a Facility Access Determination (FAD) if their sponsor verifies their need to work outside normal duty hours. For some laboratories, a DoD security clearance at "Secret" level may be required to gain access to research facilities, in which case participation in the program is contingent upon the participants obtaining the proper clearance. Security clearance and access requirements vary from laboratory to laboratory. Please check with the laboratory program coordinator.
  • Education and Experience: Before appointment, participants must present evidence of having received the Ph.D., Sc.D., or other earned research doctoral degree recognized in U.S. academic circles as equivalent to the Ph.D. within five years of the date of application, or must present acceptable evidence of having completed all formal academic requirements for one of these degrees.
  • Prior Fellowships: A person who has received a prior postdoctoral fellowship at a navy laboratory under any program may not be eligible to participate in the NRL Postdoctoral Fellowship Program at the same laboratory. A person who has prior afficiation with NRL may not be eligible to participate in the program.
  • Equal Opportunity: In accordance with Federal statutes and regulations and Navy policies, no person on the grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin or disability shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under, any program or activity receiving financial assistance from the U.S. Navy.

Deadline: Applications are accepted and processed on an on-going basis.

To apply to the fellowship program, go here

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.


American Society for Engineering Education | The Naval Research Laboratory Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
1818 N Street NW, Suite 600 Washington, DC 20036 | P: 202-350-5763 | F: 202-265-8504 |