The goal of the Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is to prepare graduate students for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission, by providing graduate thesis research opportunities at DOE laboratories.  The SCGSR program provides supplemental awards to outstanding U.S. graduate students (US citizens or lawful permanent residents) to pursue part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE laboratory/facility in areas that address scientific challenges central to the Office of Science mission. The research opportunity is expected to advance the graduate students’ overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories/facilities.

The SCGSR program is sponsored and managed by the DOE Office of Science’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), in collaboration with the 6 Office of Science research programs, 2 R&D and production programs, and the DOE national laboratories/facilities. Online application and awards administration support is provided by Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) under Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).

The SCGSR program provides supplemental funds for graduate awardees to conduct part of their thesis research at a host DOE laboratory/facility in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist within a defined award period. Collaborating DOE Laboratory Scientists may be from any of the participating DOE national laboratories/facilities. The award period for the proposed research project at DOE laboratories/facilities may range from 3 to 12 consecutive months.

View Office of Science Priority Research Areas for 2022 Solicitation 2

SCGSR Research Highlights

Tyler Chang, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, SCGSR 2018 S2 (ASCR) developed in collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey Larson at Argonne National Laboratory a numerical software (VTMOP) for solving optimization problems involving multiple simulation-based objectives that typically require many expensive or time-consuming computer simulations. Their solution uses machine learning techniques to fit simplified models of the simulation outputs, thus reducing the need for computing resources.
In addition to funding the core development of this software, the SCGSR program enabled them to integrate this solver with one of Argonne's existing computer simulation libraries and apply it to design a real-world particle accelerator at SLAC.

Chang, T. et al. ACM Trans. Math. Software 2022, 48, 36


Meghan Blumstein, Harvard University, SCGSR 2017 S1 (BER) investigated in collaboration with Dr. David Weston at Oak Ridge National Laboratory the tradeoffs that plants make when “deciding” how to use their finite carbon resources. These tradeoffs are influenced by the environment: under favorable conditions, plants can allocate more carbon to competitive traits, while under stress they allocate more to survival. The SCGSR award enabled them to show for the first time that a tradeoff between competitive growth and conservative carbon storage exists in trees, indicating that trees may “bet-hedge” and store more of their carbon if they live in stressful environments.  Furthermore, this tradeoff strategy can be passed onto offspring and can thus evolve, a critical distinction in the face of selection from global change. 

Blumstein, M. et al. New Phytol. 2022, 235, 2211


Raúl Herrera, University of California San Diego, SCGSR 2017 S1 (NP) numerically investigated in collaboration with Dr. Wick Haxton at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory how the Brink-Axel Hypothesis for Gamow-Teller transitions of certain iron peak nuclei of astrophysical interest, can be modified to provide a more accurate application. The original Brink-Axel hypothesis states that the transition strength function from an initial nuclear state to a set of final states, is similar to that of the ground state. The research conducted in the SCGSR project enabled the development of an energy-localized formulation that holds more generally, as exemplified by comparing the calculations of a stellar electron capture rate using this modified hypothesis versus previous reports.
Herrera, R. et al. Phys. Rev. C 2022, 105, 015801




Hannah Drake, Texas A&M University, SCGSR 2019 S2 (BES), developed in collaboration with Dr. Matthew Ryder at Oak Ridge National Laboratory methodologies for enhancing the working capacity of gas storage materials through structural modification and incorporation of stimuli responsive components. Their investigations utilized gas sorption studies and vibrational lattice dynamics to describe two mechanisms of enhancing gas storage and working capacity performance in porous solids. The SCGSR program helped to establish and foster connections with national laboratory scientists as well as enabled access to beamlines within the national laboratory system that led to important discoveries for the work.
Drake, H. et al. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, 14, 11192, Mater. Adv. 2021, 2, 5487, Cell Rep. Phys. Sci. 2022, 3, 101074, Trends Chem. 2022, 4, 32