Research mentors are scientists and engineers committed to support and guide the applicant's research activities during the Research Award. Research mentors must be currently conducting or directing research in an area related to the research opportunity selected by the applicant at a Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory, a university or other domestic or foreign facility supporting the EERE mission.

Applicants are expected to discuss the requirements of the EERE Postdoctoral Research Awards (See Conditions and Requirements for detailed information) and proposed research plan with potential mentors. Applicants must obtain approval from research mentors before submitting an application. Any application for which prior proposal approval has not been obtained will not be considered.

Expectations of Research Mentors

During the application process:

  • Provide guidance to the applicant about the proposed research proposal (see Research Proposals requirements).
  • Secure approval from research facility to host a postdoctoral participant.
  • Provide a Letter of Support from Research Mentor and CV to the applicant to upload as part of the application.

After participant is selected and assigned to research facility:

  • Assist participant with administrative issues related to accessing the research facilities and local area (e.g., required clearances, orientations and safety briefings, housing, transportation, facility termination procedures).
  • Provide funding and resource support for the participant (e.g., office/laboratory space, computers, data, equipment, training, research supplies, and technical and clerical support). Note that EERE will not reimburse the research mentor or hosting organization for any research equipment needs.  An allowance is provided to allow mentors to procure supplies on behalf of participants.
  • Provide technical guidance and advice to help participant achieve core project goals and support for participant to pursue the innovative project included in the application.
  • Evaluate the progress of the research and participant's performance.
  • Facilitate opportunities for participant to complete the training plan submitted in the application. Training activities may include but are not limited to preparation of grant proposals, publications and presentations; development of teaching and mentoring skills; and guidance on career counseling and responsible professional practices.
  • Ensure that project assignments provide the participant with opportunities to receive hands-on experience that complements his/her educational and professional background and helps the participant gain knowledge in areas related to the DOE mission. The program is not intended to provide workers to augment the organization’s staffing. Therefore, project activities should be appropriate for an education and training program and should not require the participant to provide expert advice; supervise, mentor, hire or fire anyone; have budget, program management, or signature authority; carry an official job title; or function in any way as a representative of the federal government.

Other Important Information

  • Participants are expected to comply with the policies of the host facility regarding the intellectual property rights and dissemination of research information. Pursuant to Title 35 U.S. Code, Section 212, no provision of the ORISE Terms of Appointment or any other document to be completed by a participant may contain any provision giving ORISE any rights to inventions made by the participants. Host facilities must discuss these policies with applicants and may impose additional requirements related to intellectual property and dissemination of research information as a condition to conduct research at the facility.
  • Participants are not allowed to supplement their stipends through simultaneous employment, grants, or other sources of income that compete with the Award activities. During their appointments, participants shall only perform research related to the core and innovation projects stated in the proposal submitted with the EERE application.
  • Participants will be expected to focus on the research proposed in the EERE application and publish the results in peer-reviewed journals. While participants are encouraged to contribute to the development of research proposals, participants shall not be required to generate or to submit proposals to secure funds to facilitate the research proposed on the application.
  • Since the participants will not have an institution affiliation (an institution is needed for proposal submission and funds administration), in order to submit a proposal, the participant must list the research mentor as the official principal investigator and the host facility should administer the funds. The funds cannot be used to supplement the EERE stipend.