Educating next-generation employees, collaborating on complex problems

Students working in a lab
Sandia's University Partnership strategy is to establish enduring partnerships with a focused set of universities to nurture talent, collaborative research, and national advocacy.

The partnerships produce world-class joint research and development, educate next-generation employees, provide Sandia employees with continuous learning opportunities, and build national visibility and name recognition.

Campus Executive Program

Many university partnerships have roots in the Campus Executive program. Sandia executives, acting as ambassadors, are paired with top university officials at schools that share research interests and capabilities. The universities - approximately 20 - must meet certain criteria and be aligned with Sandia's strategic needs. The program offers a way to partner with top universities to conduct leading-edge science, hire the most accomplished scientists and engineers, and develop collaborations in focused research areas. As part of these efforts, Sandia may fund student research projects to establish relationships with students, develop capabilities, and build long-term relationships with faculty.

Research Collaborations


Sandia supports joint research with faculty in universities across the United States. Sandia’s university research investments are made mostly by individual technical programs. In FY2018, the Laboratories invested $32.7 million with 157 universities. To help meet its mission-related needs, Sandia also supports certain university programs that explore niche technical areas of interest and forge new strategic relationships in critical skills areas. Other programs include educational and research institutes and internships for students.

Supporting Faculty and the Research Community

Sandia also has a number of efforts specifically aimed at supporting and cementing relationships with faculty and universities in the region and around the nation.


Faculty Appointments (Sabbatical and Summer Faculty Research Appointments)

The Laboratories encourage scientists to conduct short-term, joint research with university faculty on sabbatical or during the summer. Faculty must be invited by a Sandia sponsor and can have limited-term employment at the Labs from four weeks to one academic year. The appointments provide meaningful work to professors widely recognized as authorities in their field, make valuable contributions to Sandia’s technical research, and promote university relations. Candidates are recruited nationally for summer appointments. Salary, round-trip travel and per diem are provided. Available positions can be found on Sandia's Careers webpage.  Select "View All Jobs" then search for the word "faculty" and follow application instructions.


Adjunct Professorships

Sandia encourages its staff to serve as adjunct professors at regional and other universities.


External Advisory Boards

Sandians participate on university external advisory boards across the nation, and experts from universities serve on Sandia advisory boards.


Sandia supports development of eligible employees and university faculty through nominations for the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), whose winners receive $250,000 payable over five years to conduct their research. The awards recognize researchers who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge.

Research Spotlight Forum

The purpose of the forums is to provide an overview of research and needs on specific topics to foster collaboration between Sandia National Laboratories and research laboratories from our academic alliance schools.

At each forum, a Sandia researcher will provide an overview of the topic, then faculty working in the area fill give brief presentations on the research they are doing in the area. Each event will conclude with a networking event where researchers can learn more about each other’s work and discuss collaborations.

Past Events 

  • January 29, 2019: Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
  • March 5, 2019: Engineering Mechanics and Dynamics
  • April 17, 2019: Advancing Resilience for Space Systems
  • June 4, 2019: Quantum Information Sciences (Download Internal Sandia Presentation)
  • August 6, 2019: Cybersecurity
  • October 7, 2019: Resilient Infrastructure (SMART Grid)


12/3/19: Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics

2/4/20: Bioengineering & Bioinformatics

4/7/20: Social Sciences and Decision Making

For information about the Research Spotlight please contact