Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

By almost any measuring stick, the LDRD Program contributes far more in intellectual property, publications, collaborations, and recruitment of postdoctoral researchers, dollar for dollar, than any other program at the Laboratory.

For instance, in FY17, LDRD costs at Livermore were $92.5M, 6% of the total Laboratory base; yet direct funded programs yielded approximately half the Laboratory’s patents. This section presents annual performance indicators specified by the Director of the Office of Science for LDRD at the DOE/NNSA laboratories, in accordance with DOE Order 413.2C.

Intellectual Property

Year after year, projects sponsored by LDRD achieve a disproportionate percentage of the patents and copyrights issued for LLNL research. As illustrated in the following tables, LDRD has been key in developing nearly half of the Laboratory patents, over a quarter of Laboratory copyrights (chiefly computer code), and about half of the Laboratory’s records of invention.

Patents resulting from LDRD-funded research as a percentage of all Livermore patents for the last five fiscal years.
Patents FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17
All LLNL patents 84 105 196 9788
LDRD patents 44 46 46 53 55
LDRD patents as percentage of total 52% 44% 48% 56% 63%

Records of invention resulting from LDRD-funded research as a percentage of all Livermore records for the last five fiscal years.
Records of Invention FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17
All LLNL records 156 86 122 91 110
LDRD records 68 45 65 43 53
LDRD records as percentage of total 44% 52% 53% 47% 48%

Copyrights resulting from LDRD-funded research as a percentage of all LLNL copyrights for the last five fiscal years.
Copyrights FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17
All LLNL copyrights 73 76 68 72 105
LDRD copyrights 21 23 21 19 19
LDRD copyrights as percentage of total 29% 30% 31% 26% 18%

Scientific Publications

Laboratory scientists and engineers publish about a thousand papers each year in a wide range of peer-reviewed journals, of which LDRD-funded work consistently accounts for a large portion. For each year listed in the following table, the number of LDRD-derived publications should be considered a minimum value and the true value larger, because the long-term impact of LDRD investments is manifest in publications that may appear long after the project has ended.

Journal papers resulting from LDRD-funded research as a percentage of all Livermore papers for the last five fiscal years.
Journal Articles FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17
All LLNL articles 1,155 985 1,010 1,041 1,126
LDRD articles 293 245 265 265 274
LDRD articles as percentage of total 25% 25% 26% 25% 24%


External collaborations are essential to the conduct of research and development in LDRD. By working formally and informally with other national laboratories, academia, and industry, LDRD investigators access leading facilities and knowledge in the U.S. and abroad. Recent data on formal collaborations, defined as those in which an external collaborator received LDRD funds from LLNL, are given in the following table. Informal collaborations, in which the LLNL principal investigator and team intend to publish their work jointly with external collaborators, provide an indication perhaps of the broad intellectual engagement and scientific benefit of LDRD collaboration. Of the 215 projects in 2017, 63 (about 29%) specified formal collaborations, involving a total of 48 institutions.

Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

By funding exciting, potentially high-payoff projects at the frontiers of science, the LDRD Program attracts top talent in new and emerging fields of science and technology. As shown in the following table, LDRD investments contribute to the health and robustness of LLNL’s student and postdoctoral researcher programs.

Students and Postdoctoral Researchers FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17
Students supported by LDRD 50 67 1,010 102 127
Percentage of all students 13% 18% 23% 19% 22%
Postdoctoral researchers supported by LDRD ≥10% of their time 123 95 102 107 137
Percentage of postdoctoral researchers 51% 68% 43% 25% 44%
Postdoctoral researchers converted to full staff 37 27 35 25 31
Percentage of all convertions 79% 68% 90% 69% 53%

R&D 100 Awards

The R&D 100 Awards, presented annually by R&D Magazine for almost fifty years, are the Oscars of the research and development world, honoring the technical significance, uniqueness, and usefulness of the year’s most promising new products, processes, materials, and software.

Since 1978, the Laboratory has received over 150 R&D 100 Awards, 90 of them for LDRD-supported projects—a record even more impressive considering that LDRD was instituted at the Laboratory ten years after it started receiving the award. This well-regarded competition provides objective, if informal, validation of the quality and significance of LDRD-funded research.

R&D 100 Awards FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17
All A&D 100 Awards 5 4 3 3 3
LDRD-derived awards 2 2 2 1 1
Percentage of total 40% 50% 67% 33% 33%