Program Metrics

Projects sponsored by LDRD contribute significantly to intellectual property, publications, collaborations, and recruitment of postdoctoral researchers at Lawrence Livermore, considering that the program represents a small portion of the Laboratory’s total budget.

In FY15, LDRD costs at LLNL were $85M, which is 5.8% of total Laboratory costs. Here, we present annual performance indicators specified in roles, responsibilities, and guidelines for LDRD at the DOE/NNSA laboratories under DOE Order 413.2B.

Intellectual Property

The table below shows the number of patents resulting from LDRD-funded research since FY11 and the percentage of total patents that were derived from LDRD research and development. The fiscal year for which a patent is listed is the year in which the patent was granted—LDRD investment in a technology is typically made several years before the technology is actually patented. Furthermore, although an LDRD-sponsored project makes essential contributions to such technologies, subsequent programmatic sponsorship also contributes to a technology’s further development. In FY15, LDRD projects generated 48% of Livermore’s total patents, even though the LDRD program was only 5.8% of the Laboratory’s budget.

Patents resulting from LDRD-funded research as a percentage of all LLNL patents for the last five fiscal years.
Patents FY11 FY12 FY13 FY14 FY15
All LLNL patents 60 78 84 105 96
LDRD patents 32 35 44 46 46
LDRD patents as percentage of total 53% 45% 52% 44% 48%

Records of invention submitted by LDRD researchers also account for a significant percentage of the total for the Laboratory. Overall, LDRD records of invention for FY11 to FY15 account for 46% of the 690 total. In FY15, there were 122 records submitted at Livermore, with 65 (53%) of those attributable to LDRD-supported projects.

Records of invention resulting from LDRD-funded research as a percentage of all LLNL records for the last five fiscal years.
Record of Invention FY11 FY12 FY13 FY14 FY15
All LLNL records 164 162 156 86 122
LDRD records 59 79 68 45 65
LDRD records as percentage of total 36% 49% 44% 52% 53%

Finally, LDRD plays a role in producing Laboratory copyrighted material. From FY11 to FY15, LDRD-supported projects accounted for 28% of the 356 Livermore copyrights. In FY15, there were 68 LLNL copyrights, with 21 (31%) that could be attributed to LDRD research.

Copyrights resulting from LDRD-funded research as a percentage of all LLNL copyrights for the last five fiscal years.
Copyrights FY11 FY12 FY13 FY14 FY15
All LLNL copyrights 64 75 73 76 68
LDRD copyrights 16 18 21 23 21
LDRD copyrights as percentage of total 25% 24% 29% 30% 31%

Publications in Scientific Journals

The LDRD publications in scientific journals demonstrate that research and development under LDRD furthers the progress of the broad scientific and technical community by contributing new scientific results, innovative technologies, and fundamental breakthroughs. In a typical year, Laboratory scientists and engineers collectively publish around 1,000 papers in a wide range of peer-reviewed journals. In FY15 there were 1,010 such articles, of which at least 265 (26%) resulted from LDRD projects. Over the last several years, the percentage of LDRD-supported articles has remained relatively consistent, with a 5-year average of 24% of the total Laboratory publications. The following table shows the number of journal articles per fiscal year resulting from LDRD-funded research since FY11, and the percentage of total articles that were derived from LDRD research and development.

Journal papers resulting from LDRD-funded research as a percentage of all LLNL papers for the last five fiscal years.
Journal Articles FY11 FY12 FY13 FY14 FY15
All LLNL articles 994 1,016 1,155 985 1,010
LDRD articles 207 230 293 245 265
LDRD articles as percentage of total 21% 23% 25% 25% 26%


External collaborations are essential to the conduct of research and development in LDRD. By collaborating formally and informally with other national laboratories, academia, and industry, LDRD investigators are able to access world-leading facilities and knowledge—both in the U.S. and abroad—and serve as active and prominent members of the broad scientific and technical community. External collaborations are also vital for assembling the best teams for pursuing many research and development opportunities, by complementing LLNL’s capabilities and expertise. In addition, LDRD collaborations create strong relationships that are valuable for the Laboratory’s pipeline for recruiting scientific and engineering personnel.

The FY15 portfolio included 45 formal LDRD-funded collaborations involving 31 LDRD projects (20% of the total projects funded). Collaborating institutions included the University of California (23% of total collaborators), other academic institutions (64%), and other collaborators such as government agencies and industry (13%). These statistics do not include the numerous informal collaborations that researchers pursue in the course of their LDRD projects.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Because LDRD funds exciting, potentially high-payoff projects at the forefront of science, the program is essential for recruiting top talent in new and emerging fields of science and technology. In FY15, the LDRD Program supported 88 postdoctoral researchers at an effort of 10% or more—there were 236 total postdoctoral researchers at LLNL in FY15, of which 102 (43%) were supported in some way by LDRD projects. The Laboratory continues significant recruitment efforts to maintain the total number of postdoctoral researchers.