The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) National Laboratories Office (NLO) has developed a multi-element program to help the Texas A&M System researchers:
- develop collaborative ties with researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL);
- execute the Texas A&M System and LANL collaborative research projects; and
- formalize long-term relationships where appropriate, such as through joint appointments.
The goal is to increase the number and depth of research collaborations that benefit the A&M System, LANL, and the individuals involved. A key strategy toward that goal is to encourage the Texas A&M System’s researchers to spend time at LANL and learn about the laboratory’s missions that are supported by research in their areas of interest. Spending time at LANL, establishing relationships with its staff, and learning about its missions and key unsolved problems greatly increase the likelihood of long-term funded collaborations that benefit all parties.
The Exploration Mini-grant program element helps The Texas A&M University System researchers initiate collaborations with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) technical staff members (TSMs) in topical areas of interest to the laboratory. Texas A&M System researchers who have the skills, knowledge and interest to develop long-term collaborative ties with LANL researchers — but do not already have such ties — are encouraged to apply. A&M System researchers who already have such ties are encouraged to explore the development fellowships or research projects elements of the Research Collaboration Program.
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. Exploration Mini-grants help researchers move toward such partnerships. Principal-investigator eligible research faculty and staff in every A&M System component are eligible to apply, but priority may be given to tenure-line faculty at A&M System universities.
A typical exploration mini-grant would pay travel costs for an A&M System researcher to visit one or more LANL researchers to explore whether there is mutual interest in pursuing a long-term collaboration. The mini-grant can fund short visits (typically one week) to the laboratory by A&M System researchers to initiate collaborations.
The application must identify at least one LANL potential collaborator who has agreed to spend time with the A&M System researcher to explore whether there is mutual interest in pursuing a long-term collaboration. Aspiring applicants who do not know appropriate hosts can ask the A&M System’s National Laboratories Office (NLO) to work with LANL managers to try to identify potential LANL host technical staff members. Grant recipients must submit a brief report summarizing the outcome of the exploratory engagement.
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. It will pay costs up to $1,500 per person (in accordance with A&M System guidelines) for successful applicants to travel to LANL to engage with potential collaborators. If it is more useful for the LANL technical staff member to visit the A&M System researcher, the NLO can help the identified technical staff member to secure travel funding from within LANL.
Applying for Exploration Mini-grants
Applications can be submitted via email at any time to email@example.com. 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 at least:
- Title (e.g., Assistant professor)
- A&M System 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 at least:
- Title (e.g., technical staff member)
- 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 has agreed to 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 can suffice. If you know how the area is connected to LANL missions or its “capability pillars,” please include this.
- Cost and timeline – Describe how and when you will spend the mini-grant funds if your application is selected for funding, and specify the date on which your summary report will be delivered to the NLO.
Questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
 In this document the term “research” includes a broad range of research and development activities.