Sponsor Guidelines

Candidates for the Margaret Butler Postdoctoral Fellowship are selected based on their research and academic accomplishments, and the strength of their research proposal. Candidates must display superb ability in scientific or engineering research and must show definite promise of becoming outstanding leaders in their fields. All applicants must identify an Argonne employee (sponsor) who will write the nomination memo and present the case in front of the ALCF Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee. If the scientist’s home division is not the ALCF, the applicant must also ask a member of the ALCF team to sponsor their application.

You will be asked to speak to the strengths of your candidate as a researcher and as a person. Therefore, as a sponsor, you should be familiar with the research work and accomplishments of your nominee. You should also be thoroughly familiar with your candidate’s research proposal.


The deadline to receive all application materials is 5:00 pm CST on Saturday, December 1, 2018 for your candidate to be considered for the fellowship. It is strongly advised that you communicate with your nominee prior to the deadline to ensure the application is complete. ALCF’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee will not consider the application if it is not complete by the commencement of the review. It is ultimately the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that all materials are submitted on time. The name of the selected candidate will be announced in early June 2018. The appointment start date is dependent upon the availability of the candidate and other factors. However, the appointment cannot commence until he or she is in receipt of the PhD degree.

Salary and Term

Fellowship benefits include a highly competitive salary, moving expenses, and a professional travel allowance. The appointment is for one year and may be renewed for another year.

Candidate Eligibility

Candidates must have received a recent PhD prior to the beginning of the appointment and have considerable knowledge of high-performance computational science.


If your candidate is being co-sponsored with another ANL staff member, the nomination letter should state the names and divisions of each sponsor. If your candidate is selected as a finalist, both sponsors will be invited to address the Committee in the final round of review.

Your Nomination Letter

  • The nomination letter should not exceed two (2) pages and should address the following:
    • The nominee’s academic credentials;
    • The merits of the nominee’s research proposal;
    • The appropriateness or “fit” of the nominee to Argonne;
    • The nominee’s personal strengths and previous accomplishments;
    • If your candidate has prior postdoctoral experience or is three or more years past the PhD conferral date, please address the reasons the fellowship appointment would be beneficial to the nominee’s career.
  • Nominations should be in signed letter format, addressed to Dr. Michael E. Papka, Division Director, Argonne Leadership Computing Facility. Please email a PDF to your nominee for uploading to their online application and forward a copy to your division director and division HR representative.

The Review Criteria

  • ALCF’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee will review candidate applications based on the following criteria:
    • Strength of the nomination memo;
    • Strength of the research statement;
    • Strength of recommendation letters;
    • Strength of the CV and academic record.
  • Given the logistical complexities of inviting all candidates for on-site interviews with the Committee, the sponsors of the finalists will be invited to address the Committee to discuss the candidate and the proposal.

The Review Process

  • Questions concerning the nominee’s application should be directed to ALCF Division Director, Dr. Michael E. Papka prior to the December 1 deadline.
  • The first phase of the review may take up to four (4) weeks. If there is a high volume of applications, additional time may be necessary.
  • If the Committee selects your candidate as a finalist, you will be asked to give a presentation on your candidate’s strengths and credentials. Notifications will be sent 7–to–14 days in advance of the sponsor’s meeting.
  • If there is a schedule conflict and you cannot attend the sponsor’s meeting, you MUST assign a proxy to speak on your candidate’s behalf. Please notify ALCF’s HR Representative, Pat Pepper as soon as possible with the name and contact email of your proxy.

Guidelines for Your Presentation

  • You should expect to spend approximately 10 minutes with the Committee: five (5) minutes to address the Committee and five (5) minutes for questions from the Committee.
  • When addressing the Committee, you may be asked questions regarding both the technical and scientific aspects of the proposal as well as questions about the candidate’s record. Therefore, it is recommended that you be prepared to discuss the following:
    • The candidate’s strengths, unique skills, and notable achievements.
    • Why is this candidate a good fit for the ALCF? Why is the ALCF a good match for the candidate?
    • There will be some questions related to the research proposed by the candidate and it is expected that you are thoroughly familiar with their proposed work.
    • What is your relationship to the candidate? How did you meet the candidate (via collaboration, conference, they approached you)?
    • Will you be able to provide adequate mentorship support?
    • Will the research require collaboration and if so, with whom will he/she be collaborating?
  • It is advisable that you (1) know your nominee and what is in their package, (2) know the nominee’s accomplishments, and (3) be thoroughly familiar with your nominee’s research proposal.
  • The completion of the entire review process may take six (6) weeks depending on the volume of applicants.