The Exploration Mini-Grant program helps Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) researchers initiate collaborations with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) technical staff members in topical areas of mutual interest to LANL and TAMUS. Faculty who spend time at LANL learning its missions and problem sets are more likely to develop long-term partnerships with the laboratory’s technical staff members. The mini-grants help researchers make progress toward such partnerships.
A typical mini-grant would pay travel costs (no salary included) for a TAMUS researcher to visit one or more LANL researchers to explore the possibility of pursuing a long-term collaboration. The visits to the laboratory are short, typically one week.
TAMUS researchers who meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply:
- Possess the skills, knowledge and interest to develop long-term collaborative ties with LANL technical staff members.
- Do not have current ties with LANL collaborators.
- Hold a principal-investigator-eligible (PI-eligible) faculty or staff position in any TAMUS component, including branch campus locations.
Individuals holding postdoctoral appointments are not eligible to apply. Priority may be given to early-career tenure-line faculty. Note: TAMUS researchers who have already established collaborative ties with LANL are encouraged to apply for Development Fellowships or Research Projects, which are other elements of the TAMUS-LANL Research Collaboration Program.
The application must identify at least one LANL potential collaborator who has agreed to spend time with the TAMUS researcher to explore whether there is potential for a long-term collaboration. Aspiring applicants who do not know appropriate hosts can ask for NLO assistance to work with LANL managers to identify potential collaborators. Within 30 days of travel completion, grant recipients must submit a brief report summarizing the outcome of the exploratory engagement and meet with an NLO staff member to review potential future opportunities.
The grant will pay up to $1,500 per person (in accordance with TAMUS guidelines) for successful applicants to travel to LANL to engage with potential collaborators. However, if it is more useful for the LANL technical staff member to visit the TAMUS researcher, the NLO can help the identified technical staff member secure travel funding from within LANL. Expenses incurred prior to application approval will not be reimbursed.
The NLO will select applications for funding in accordance with priorities established collaboratively with LANL, subject to availability of funds.
Applying for Exploration Mini-Grants
There is no application deadline. Applications (or questions) can be submitted via email at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org. PDF documents are preferred for the application and the applicant’s curriculum vitae. The application should be organized as follows:
- Applicant information – Provide information about yourself, including:
- Title (e.g., Assistant Professor)
- TAMUS entity and department (e.g., PVAMU Math)
- Citizenship (e.g., U.S. permanent resident)
- Email address and phone number
- Curriculum vitae
- Collaborator information – Provide information about the identified LANL collaborator(s), including:
- Title (e.g., Scientist 3)
- Division and group (e.g., CCS-2)
- Evidence that at least one identified LANL collaborator has agreed to spend time with the applicant to explore collaboration possibilities and meet with the applicant if travel to LANL is proposed (e.g., an email from the collaborator)
- Research area – Describe the research area that you and your collaborator(s) are interested in exploring. A single paragraph would suffice. If you know how the area is connected to LANL missions or its “capability pillars,” please include this information.
- Cost and timeline – Describe how and when you will spend the mini-grant funds if your application is selected and specify the date on which your summary report will be delivered to the NLO. Mini-grants are internally funded and therefore have no associated overhead costs.
Questions should be directed to email@example.com.
 In this document the term “research” includes a broad range of research and development activities.