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 FY18, LDRD costs at Livermore were $98.2M, 5.9% of the total Laboratory base; yet LDRD 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's patents, over a quarter of the Laboratory's copyrights (chiefly computer codes), and about half of the Laboratory's records of invention.

Patents FY14 FY15FY16 FY17 FY18
All LLNL patents 105 96 97 8879
LDRD patents 46 46 54 55 41
LDRD patents as a percentage of total 44% 48% 56% 63% 52%

Record of Invention FY14 FY15FY16 FY17 FY18
All LLNL records 86 122 91 110 105
LDRD records 45 65 43 53 47
LDRD records as percentage of total 52% 53% 47% 48% 45%

Copyrights FY14 FY15FY16 FY17 FY18
All LLNL copyrights 76 68 72 105 105
LDRD copyrights 23 21 19 19 23
LDRD copyrights as percentage of total 30% 31% 26% 18% 22%

Scientific publications

Laboratory scientists and engineers publish over 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 Articles FY14 FY15FY16 FY17 FY18
All LLNL articles 985 1,010 1,041 1,126 1,178
LDRD articles 245 265 265 274 456
LDRD articles as percentage of total 25% 26% 25% 24% 39%


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.

Collaborations FY14 FY15FY16 FY17 FY18
Projects with one or more formal collaborations 39 31 45 62 74
Percentage of all projects 27% 20% 25% 29% 31%

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 FY14 FY15FY16 FY17 FY18
Students supported by LDRD 67 1,010 102 127 138
Percentage of all students 18% 23% 19% 22% 22%
Postdoctoral researchers supported by LDRD ≥10% of their time 95 102 107 137 167
Percentage of postdoctoral researchers 68% 43% 25% 44% 54%
Postdoctoral researchers converted to full staff 27 35 25 31 52
Percentage of all conversions 68% 90% 69% 53% 71%