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The University of Tennessee
UT-ORNL Distinguished Graduate Fellowships Program

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Program Information

The UTK–ORNL Distinguished Graduate Fellowship Program offers stipends of $30,000 a year for top-ranked highly motivated graduate students who progress successfully through the PhD degree program. The program begins in the fall of 2010.

Applications from students with backgrounds in physics, materials science, materials engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, nuclear engineering, and computational science are welcome. Successful student applicants will have the opportunity to conduct research in three areas:

Institutional Partnership

As the flagship research university for the state of Tennessee, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a major public institution with research expertise in a variety of scientific and engineering disciplines.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 25 miles west of Knoxville, is the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory, with research expertise in neutron science, energy, advanced materials, supercomputing, national security, and more. ORNL also has such internationally recognized research facilities as the Spallation Neutron Source, the High Flux Isotope Reactor, and Jaguar, the world’s fastest supercomputer.

Together, the two institutions have developed the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (CIRE). CIRE brings together extensive and complementary resources at The University of Tennesse, Knoxville (UTK) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to increase science, technology, engineering, and mathematics academic and research activities of national significance focused on energy-related science and engineering.

The Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (CIRE) manages the Distinguished Graduate Fellowship program as well as the Energy Science and Engineering graduate program.

The UTK-ORNL Distinguished Graduate Fellowship program interfaces with the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, the Joint Institute for Biological Sciences and the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences. A fourth organization, the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials, is in the construction phase. UT Knoxville and ORNL also are collaborating in hiring world-class faculty members through the joint Governor’s Chair program.

Given the participation of UT Knoxville in ORNL management, the broad intersection of research interests of the two institutions, and their geographic proximity, UT Knoxville and ORNL are extending their partnership to include this Distinguished Graduate Fellowship program. The purpose of this collaboration is to establish a select joint graduate program to create future national leaders in science and engineering. The unique combination of nationally recognized expertise at both institutions, the network of existing collaborations between them, the availability of graduate programs at UT Knoxville, and access to outstanding research facilities at ORNL ensure the success of this program.

Fellowship Activities

Successful applicants can expect to have early immersion in and strong linkage to ORNL research projects while being engaged in student activities and a home department at UT Knoxville. The fellowship leads to a degree awarded by UT Knoxville, research supervision by both UT Knoxville and ORNL personnel, strong involvement in research projects at ORNL, and access to intra- and interdisciplinary seminars and specialty courses that draw on both UT Knoxville and ORNL personnel.

During the first two years of a fellowship, a successful applicant receives three semesters of financial support from UT Knoxville, one semester of support from ORNL, and two summer assistantships at ORNL. ORNL provides support for up to three years as part of the student’s research program.


ORNL and UTK logos

Contact Information

Lee Riedinger
Professor of Physics
Director of Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education

Wanda Davis
Assistant to the Director

322 Perkins Hall
1506 Middle Drive
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville, TN 37996