Sandia National Labs FY20 LDRD Annual Report


Exploratory Express LDRD Strategic Initiative funds 21 early career staff during FY20. Exploratory Express (EE) is a unique LDRD Investment Area (IA). Often a researcher conceives an idea with the potential to become important for one of Sandia’s strategic missions, but the idea is technically risky, and requires some maturation and testing before it is ready to serve as a basis for further R&D or for technology transition. EE specializes in funding these short-term projects (six months to a year in duration with a cost under $125K). The PIs must scope their project to obtain a concrete result by the end of the cycle, the results of which will determine the direction of additional investments. The EE IA runs on a different call cycle than the standard annual LDRD call. There are three “speed networking” events where researchers can pitch their idea and obtain feedback from multiple EE committee members before ultimately submitting their idea for consideration. Many early career staff at Sandia have brilliant concepts that fit this description. Their burgeoning and focused ideas are risky but could have a significant impact on one of Sandia’s mission areas. For example, Jessica Rimsza, materials science researcher, got her first LDRD as a postdoc in 2018 through EE. Her successful project, “Computational and Experimental Characterization of Intermediate Amorphous Phases in Geological Materials,” helped her to step out as a researcher at Sandia. She converted to staff, is a successful PI in other investment areas, and a recognized expert in her field. In FY20 alone, EE funded 21 early career staff with promising, yet technically risky, ideas.



Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online