The Oppenheimer Science and Energy Leadership Program (OSELP) is the premier leadership development program of the National Laboratory Directors' Council (NLDC). The program exposes emerging leaders to the singular breadth, diversity and complexity of the National Labs and their partners in government, industry and academia.
OSELP is designed to bring together exceptional professionals who have the potential to contribute significantly to DOE’s work, whether at DOE or in the National Labs, academia or industry. Lab Directors are encouraged to consider candidates from diverse disciplines, professions, and backgrounds, including participants from outside the scientific and technical domains. In addition to Laboratory staff, Lab Directors may also nominate candidates affiliated with universities or industry. Such candidates should be formally affiliated with the Lab (e.g., through a Joint Appointment or research partnership) and be likely to have ongoing interactions with DOE and the Lab system throughout their career. There is no requirement that OSELP Fellows be U.S. citizens. However, in some instances non-U.S. citizens will not be able to participate in some site visit activities.
Nomination Process and Timing
The formal call for nominations is typically issued by the NLDC Executive Committee Chair in the summer. Nomination packages include, inter alia, a nomination letter from the Lab Director, a statement of interest from the candidate, a sample think-piece addressing a major strategic challenge relevant to the National Labs and DOE, and a current resume. All OSELP candidates are nominated by a Laboratory Director, including candidates from academia, industry, or other partners.
Nominated candidates are reviewed and evaluated by a committee of former Lab Directors and former senior DOE officials and the OSELP Director. The results of this process are communicated by the OSELP Director to the NLDC Executive Committee, which makes final determinations regarding the Cohort's composition. OSELP Cohorts are typically finalized by the NLDC Executive Committee in the fall. Site visits and other engagements (both physical and virtual) commence after the Cohort is finalized and occur over an approximate 12-month span.
Time Commitment and Activities
In addition to virtual interactions, Oppenheimer Fellows participate in a year-long series of site visits at National Laboratories and in Washington D.C., covering the spectrum of DOE’s missions and operations. Participation in the program requires a substantial investment of time from the Fellows. Fellows should expect to spend approximately 15 percent of their time on program activities. Physical travel is generally a core requirement of the program, with five week-long site visits to National Labs and a multi-day capstone event, often held in Washington, D.C.
Fellows also collaborate on the development of think-pieces aimed at tackling major organizational, policy, scientific, other challenges within DOE’s mission areas. Given the investment of time required by the program, letters of recommendations from Lab Directors should affirm the Lab's commitment to support the candidate's full participation in all program activities.
OSELP is a competitive Fellowship Program. Laboratory staff interested in becoming an OSELP Fellow should discuss their interest in the program with their management and senior leadership. Former Oppenheimer Fellows can also provide insights into the program experience, requirements, and benefits. Requests for additional information can be made through the contact form on this website.
Engaging deeply with senior Lab leaders, DOE officials, and stakeholders to achieve a systems-level understanding of the National Labs and their unique capabilities, challenges, and opportunities.
Exploring ways to improve the DOE and National Lab collective enterprise.