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Advanced Short-Term Research Opportunity (ASTRO)

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory Advanced Short-Term Research Opportunity Program is a highly selective program offering challenging short-term research opportunities to persons working on or holding recent Master’s or Doctoral degrees. ASTRO participants conduct research in areas that support ORNL missions in the basic and applied sciences, energy, and environment. Appointments are available in all current research and development programs at the Laboratory.


  • Applications are accepted on a year-around basis
  • Appointments are for a minimum of one month or as long as twelve months, with possibility of renewal up to an additional twelve months
  • Participants engage in research or technical projects related to DOE’s ongoing research and development programs under the guidance of Laboratory staff scientists or engineers
  • There are no U.S. citizenship or GPA requirements


  • Participants receive a monthly stipend; amount commensurate with the participant’s 
    academic status
  • The mentor can allocate funds for a one-time dislocation allowance
  • Participants can attend enrichment activities, including professional development
    workshops, Laboratory tours, lectures, seminars and poster presentations, with mentor approval


  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Applicants must be enrolled in a Master’s or a Ph.D. program at an accredited institution, or hold a recent (within the past five years) Master’s or Ph.D. degree, or have a Master’s equivalency in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) area.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or hold a visa allowing the participant to be paid
  • Have medical insurance during the appointment – verification required


  • Participants must abide activities that could present a conflict of interest, and behave in a responsible and professional manner
  • Participants must complete pre- and post-appointment surveys

Next Steps

If you are ready, you can apply to the ASTRO program now

Advanced Short-Term Research Opportunity (ASTRO)

More research programs for:

ORNL Intern Jackeline Rios-Torres

Jackeline Rios-Torres

Engineering, Postdoctoral Researcher
Clemson University
Research Focus:

“The goal of my research was to develop strategies to improve transportation efficiency and sustainability through use of connected and automated vehicles (CAVS). Using optimal control theory, I helped develop a strategy that allows CAVs traveling on different roads to merge into a primary road without idling while minimizing the fuel use and travel time. This can reduce fuel consumption by almost 50 percent and also improve the total travel time when compared to a baseline scenario in which the vehicles have to decelerate and eventually stop to be able to safely merge.”

Experience Gained:

“Before joining the program, I did not know about the range of research at ORNL. I was amazed by the significance of the projects being conducted. My favorite parts of the program included the option to attend diverse seminars, the meaningful feedback I received from my mentor and the opportunity to share the results of my research.”

Thoughts on Program:

“During the course of the program, I believe I improved as a professional and strengthened my self-confidence. I gained knowledge, but more importantly, I enjoyed the process. I would definitely recommend the program. It was an amazing, positive and enriching experience.”

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