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.
Nomination and Selection
While the Oppenheimer nomination and selection process has evolved over the years, a consistent requirement is that all candidates must be nominated by a National Laboratory Director. In recent years, the NLDC has introduced a peer nomination process that allows National Lab staff to recommend an individual for consideration. Peer recommendations are a valuable part of the selection process, as they often identify outstanding candidates who may not have been previously considered. The input provided through these recommendations is highly appreciated and plays a crucial role in assembling a group of fellows who not only exhibit exceptional individual capabilities but also enhance the collective dynamism and potential of the cohort.
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.
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. Over the past six Cohorts, fellows have represented a diverse range of disciplines and professions. Lab Directors are strongly encouraged to consider candidates from diverse disciplines, professions, and backgrounds. The inclusion of participants from outside the scientific and technical domains has immensely enriched the program.
Labs may also select individuals affiliated with universities or industry, either as designated fellows or additional candidates. Such individuals 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, please note that in some instances non-U.S. citizens will not be able to participate in some site visit activities.
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. Candidates must commit to full participation in the program's schedule of events to be considered for admission. Physical travel is generally a core requirement of the program, with 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, for all nominees Letters of Support from Lab Directors should affirm the Lab's commitment to support the candidate's full participation in all program activities.
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.