ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

In 1946, ORAU began as an outgrowth of the Manhattan Project. Over the years, through its university consortium, it has provided countless opportunities for the nation’s leading scientists. Since those early years both the mission and reach of ORAU have grown significantly. What began with fourteen universities in the southeast has grown to over 100 top research institutions located all over the U. S. plus one international university.

ORAU provides innovative, scientific, and technical solutions to its customers, which include the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 20 state and federal agencies and especially Oak Ridge National Laboratory, by advancing national priorities in science, health, educations, and national security. We do this by integrating unique laboratory capabilities, specialized teams of experts, and the research prowess of our consortium members. ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, which supports government agencies who value an integrated solution incorporating state of the art science and technology in an era of consolidated government contracts requiring research informed delivery of critical services.

In addition to support for government agencies, ORAU provides many opportunities for teachers and students through a variety of fellowships, grants, scholarships, workshops, and joint-faculty appointments. Many of these programs are especially designed for underrepresented minority students pursuing degrees in science and engineering fields. Participation and financial support for science education programs now exceeds 8,000 participants and $196 million. The ORAU University Partnerships Office supports new faculty just beginning their careers through the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, individual faculty collaboration with other scientists at member universities and ORNL, and member schools with larger collaborative efforts.

All correspondence with ORAU is managed through one point-of-contact, the member institution’s ORAU Councilor. For USU faculty and students, initial contact should begin with Jerilyn Hansen (jerilyn.hansen@usu.edu or (435) 797-3437).

Recurring ORAU funding opportunities are described below.

The Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award provides seed money for research by junior faculty and is intended to enrich their research and professional growth and result in new funding opportunities.

The award amount provided by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) is $5,000, with matching of at least $5,000 provided by the faculty member’s institution. The award is for one year (June 1 – May 31). The research project must be in one of the following five disciplines:

  • Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics/Computer Science
  • Physical Sciences
  • Policy, Management, or Education

Full-time assistant professors at ORAU member institutions are eligible to apply if they are within two years of their initial tenure track appointment at the time of application.

A Powe award is a prestigious accolade for a faculty member to receive. ORAU recently conducted a study of the award and the results clearly show the impact it has had on recipients over its more than 20 year existence. The first Utah State University faculty member received a Powe award in 2014.

A member institution can nominate only two faculty members per year. Nominees are selected via USU’s internal limited submission process each October. Final nominee applications are submitted to ORAU by USU’s Councilor. Guidelines and deadlines for the internal competition are posted in Funding Finder.

For more information about this program and how to apply, contact Jerilyn Hansen at jerilyn.hansen@usu.edu or (435) 797-3437.

Requests for ORAU events sponsorship will be considered for up to $4,000. Proposed events must involve participants from more than one ORAU member institution. Events considered for sponsorship can include visits to an ORAU institution by a renowned speaker, conferences or workshops with a focused theme, or a technology transfer/business plan competition.

There are two submission deadlines per year:

  • September 1, for events taking place between October 1 and May 31 of the following year
  • March 1, for events taking place between April 1 and September 30

An ORAU representative must be invited to the event and will attend when possible.

A member institution is limited to one event sponsorship request per ORAU fiscal year (October 1 – September 31). Applicants are selected via USU’s internal limited submission process. Final applications are submitted to ORAU by USU’s Councilor. Guidelines and deadlines for the internal competition are posted in Funding Finder.

For more information about this program and how to apply, contact Jerilyn Hansen at jerilyn.hansen@usu.edu or (435) 797-3437.

Faculty at member institutions can request up to $800 for travel to collaborate with researchers at ORNL, Y-12, ORAU laboratories or work sites, or another ORAU institution. This program is not intended to support travel to conferences or workshops. Only requests for research-related travel will be considered.

Proposals are accepted at any time.

A member institution is limited to two travel grants requests per ORAU fiscal year (October 1 – September 31). Applicants are selected via USU’s internal limited submission process. Final applications are submitted to ORAU by USU’s Councilor. Guidelines and deadlines for the internal competition are posted in Funding Finder.

For more information about this program and how to apply, contact Jerilyn Hansen at jerilyn.hansen@usu.edu or (435) 797-3437.

The ORAU/ORNL High-Performance Computing (HPC) Grant Program was established in 2009 to encourage new and expand existing research initiatives among ORAU member institutions using high-performance computing systems. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is committed to providing the world’s most powerful open resource for scientific computing and this has resulted in an impressive computational capability in Oak Ridge, TN. ORAU has partnered with the laboratory to provide opportunities for meaningful faculty and student engagement with ORNL’s world-class computing capabilities via this grant program.

Each grant provides potential funding of up to $50,000 ($25,000 per year for up to two years).

A member institution is limited to one proposal per ORAU fiscal year (October 1 – September 31). Applicants are selected via USU’s internal limited submission process. Final applications are submitted to ORAU by USU’s Councilor. Guidelines and deadlines for the internal competition are posted in Funding Finder.

For more information about this program and how to apply, contact Jerilyn Hansen at jerilyn.hansen@usu.edu or (435) 797-3437.

Since 1951, Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics, and physiology/medicine convene annually in Lindau, Germany, to have open and informal meetings with students and young researchers. The Laureates lecture on the topic of their choice in the mornings and participate in less formal, small-group discussions with the students in the afternoons and some evenings. In addition to this valuable interaction, the participants enjoy the picturesque island city of Lindau. This medieval city—rich in central European culture—is located at the eastern end of Lake Constance, just north of the Swiss Alps, at the common border of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

These students will travel to Lindau to participate in discussions with the Nobel Laureates, as well as other graduate students and junior researchers from around the world.

A student nominated to participate in this program must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Be currently enrolled as a full-time graduate student;
  • Have completed by June 2018 at least two academic years of study toward a doctoral degree in physics, physiology or medicine, chemistry or related disciplines, but not planning a dissertation/thesis defense before January 1, 2019;
  • Nominees must be currently enrolled in an accredited PhD granting university in the United States;
  • Be participating in a research project.

A member institution can nominate only two graduate students per year. Nominees are selected via USU’s internal limited submission process. Final nominee applications are submitted to ORAU by USU’s Councilor. Guidelines and deadlines for the internal competition are posted in Funding Finder.

For more information about this program and how to apply, contact Jerilyn Hansen at jerilyn.hansen@usu.edu or (435) 797-3437.

The Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF) is a gathering of laureates of some of the most prestigious prizes in mathematics and computer science, namely the Abel Prize and Fields Medal as well as the Turing Award and Nevanlinna Prize.  Held annually for a week in Heidelberg, Germany, the Heidelberg Laureate Forum brings these laureates at the apex of their careers together with 200 high-achieving graduate student and postdoctoral counterparts from around the world.

The HLF gives early career researchers an opportunity for interaction that is typically not available within the normal university environment or in their home university department, whereby the Laureates provided formal plenary lectures and led small group discussions with topics driven by a combination of prepared presentations by the Laureates as well as student questions.

A student nominated to participate in this program must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Be currently enrolled as a full-time graduate student;
  • Have completed by June 2018 at least two academic years of study toward a doctoral degree in physics, physiology or medicine, chemistry or related disciplines, but not planning a dissertation/thesis defense before January 1, 2019;
  • Be an active researcher who is performing research funded by public or private sources.

For more information about this program and how to apply, contact Jerilyn Hansen at jerilyn.hansen@usu.edu or (435) 797-3437.

Academic fellowships and scholarships, research experiences, sabbaticals, and internships are available through programs at ORAU and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). Currently available opportunities and application information can be found here.

ORAU works with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to facilitate student and faculty research opportunities. More information about the science education programs at ORNL can be found here.

ORAU-Directed Research and Development (ODRD) Partnership Grant

Through collaborations between ORAU and ORAU-member universities, ORAU-Directed Research and Development (ODRD) harnesses innovation to strengthen and expand the scientific and technical capabilities of ORAU programs; enhance ORAU’s ability to address current and future customer needs; and supports university-engaged, applied research that enhances customer solutions.

ODRD creates a means to support additional exploratory, collaborative research opportunities with ORAU programs, and results in the greater potential for significant external research funding. ODRD competitively funds select innovative research-based approaches/solutions that fall within the intersection of core capabilities of ORAU and member universities’ research interests.

Faculty may submit proposed concepts (no more than 2 paragraphs) to their ORAU Councilor, or their Councilor’s proxy. Councilors vet concepts to ensure they meet the below requirements, then submit to ORAU.

Concepts are vetted against ODRD program requirements then matched with an internal ORAU subject matter expert (SME). Jointly developed concepts then compete through the program phases (see below).

After concept submission, ORAU reviews the concept for relevance and applicability to ORAU customer needs. ORAU will provide a disposition response to the submitting Councilor within 10 business days. If the concept aligns with ORAU needs and a conversation results, the ORAU subject matter expert (SME) will lead development of a joint proposal with the faculty and become eligible to compete for subsequent Phases.

Proposed concepts must align with at least one of the following ORAU core capability areas and focus on improving service to an ORAU customer:

  • Radiation detection/survey applications/modeling
  • Radiochemistry/mercury analyses
  • Health physics/radiation dosimetry
  • Beryllium Lymphocyte proliferation tests/worker health
  • Data analytics/GIS applications
  • Epidemiology/exposure risk assessments
  • Safety culture/health communication
  • Atmospheric science
  • CO2 measurements
  • Nanotechnology and public/occupational health
  • Emergency management/community resilience
  • Radiation emergency medical response/Cytogenetic biodosimetry techniques
  • Assessment and evaluation studies
  • Educational technology
  • Energy/nuclear small modular reactors

Proposed concepts must consist of partnership between member universities and ORAU

  • Proposed concepts shall consist of partnerships between ORAU and member universities through Phase 2.

ODRD projects should have potential to progress through Phase 3

Preliminary Discussion. Concepts which are well-aligned between ORAU capabilities and member university research faculty result in an initial project conversation to explore concept development further.

  • Well-aligned concepts will be matched for further project discussion
  • No funds awarded
  • Fiscal Year 2017 Application Timeline: Open for continuous submission

 

Phase 1: Meeting. After preliminary discussion, an exploratory project meeting is held between ORAU program staff and university partner to discuss the proposed project, identify possible funding sources, and outline roles and responsibilities. The outcome of the Phase 1 meeting will determine if the project will progress to Phase 2 or Phase 3 funding, or if the project scope requires revision.

  • Up to $5,000 in travel grant funds may be requested to conduct the exploratory meeting at ORAU or at the partner university (some restrictions apply; university travel for the meeting is paid by an ORAU travel grant and is based on university travel rules)
  • Fiscal Year 2017 Application Timeline: Open for continuous submission

 

Phase 2:  Joint ORAU/University Project. For Phase 2 competition, an ORAU-prepared application is submitted. Phase 2 projects are innovative research projects that enhance ORAU’s core scientific and technical competencies in partnership with a member university. The project should be achievable in 3 to 6 months, but no longer than 1 year, and is designed to produce “proof-of-concept”-type results leading to a white paper, conference presentation, and/or a technical publication with a clear proposal concept and identification of target funding sources.


 Criteria for Phase 2 Selection:

Strengthens Competency of ORAU Program:  Potential value of the enhanced service or product to our customers; strengthens technical differentiation/innovation of product/service that enhances our competitiveness, value added to ORAU by association with thought leaders.

External Research Funding Potential: Preliminary identification of customer for unsolicited proposal or expected RFP and dollar value of the possible external third party award. Plans to submit an external proposal with a value above $1M will be viewed favorably.

Strengthens Value Proposition for University Partner: Potential to build long-term collaboration between ORAU experts and university faculty; provides funded research support for student/faculty, university gains access to unique ORAU assets.  

Miscellaneous criteria: Technical viability of the proposed research approach, expands our thought leadership (e.g., team commits to peer-reviewed paper, technical presentation, etc.), appropriateness of the size of project to the time and budget available. Include any additional comments you believe should be considered.


  • Up to $75,000 to be shared between both partners; funds granted to universities cover direct charges only (ODRD program support 3 awards per fiscal year)
  • Fiscal Year 2017 Application Timeline: Joint ORAU/university submissions due by noon March 27, 2017; funding awarded in April/May 2017

 

Phase 3: Joint Proposal.  Support for preparation of a major joint proposal. Preliminary studies performed in one-year projects form the basis of external proposals for significant funding. Results in submission of an external collaborative proposal

  • Funding support for preparation of a major joint proposal
  • Funds based on need and as agreed upon
  • Fiscal Year 2017 Application Timeline: Open for continuous submission

 

Funding and Time commitments

  • The university will receive and process any awarded funds as Grants from a nonprofit foundation; without indirect or overhead charges.
  • The university works with the project’s timeline, as outlined in the Phase descriptions above.

For more information about this program and how to apply, contact Jerilyn Hansen at jerilyn.hansen@usu.edu or (435) 797-3437.