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NC State/PNNL Distinguished Graduate Research Program

  • DGRPThe newly announced NC State / PNNL Distinguished Graduate Research Program (DGRP) is currently searching for students to help kick off our program this Fall. We are anticipating supporting one student for Fall 2021, but the program will grow to add 2-3 students/year.
  • Full Support – This program supports a student fully for two years (tuition/stipend)
  • Partnership – Specific focus on growing the partnership between NC State faculty and PNNL technical experts
  • Mission Relevant – Offer students an opportunity to gain practical experience with real-world projects while pursuing their dissertation research
  • Immersive Experience – Students will spend at least six months at PNNL collaborating on on-going data science projects
  • Questions – Contact Brian Kritzstein ( to learn more

Projects Areas for Fall 2021

  • Natural Language Processing
    • Our focus is on augmenting and extracting information for a variety of textual data. This involves research into areas such as named entity recognition, entity disambiguation/linking, relation extraction, topic modeling, document summarization, author/message similarity, and translation. Our goal is to use and advance the state-of-the-art in natural language processing (NLP) in a variety of domains. An understanding of optimization and machine learning is necessary. Experience in deploying NLP and/or deep learning models in Python is preferred.
  • Graph Analytics
    • Our focus is on advancing the connection between entities and their behavior through graph analytics. In particular, our goals are to discover interesting entities within very large data streams, create entity profiles, discover how they collaborate, and do it all at scale, robust to varying amounts of noise and structure. Experience in constructing large networks and/or deep learning models is necessary (preferably in Python). Familiarity with cryptocurrency or other forms of financial data would be a plus.
  • Computer Vision
    • Our focus is on automated information extraction from images and video, building models to augment and triage the content. This involves research into areas such as image similarity, semantic segmentation, object detection, video compression, and speaker verification/diarization. Experience in computer vision, signal processing, and/or deep learning is necessary (preferably in Python).

How to Apply

To apply, please submit the following materials to by April 19th, 2021, 11:59 PM EDT as a single PDF document.


  1. Unofficial transcript
    1. Please include completed graduate coursework at NC State
  2. Written statement of project experience(s), highlighting the statistical/machine learning methodology used during the project(s). Limit of two pages, single-spaced, 11pt font.

Please include the following:

  1. We hope that the project you work on with PNNL will contribute to your dissertation research. Please include a short description of your research interests and how they relate to these project areas.
  2. In addition, describe at least one concrete example of a project that you have worked on related to the areas listed above (NLP, graph analytics, or computer vision). As part of the discussion, include a description of the modeling choices for the given problem, including reasoning behind the selected methodology and data structure.
  3. Include specific examples of coding experience with mentions of library/module usage. Python, R, or Julia is preferred.

For this project, U.S. citizenship is required, although that may not be the case for subsequent fellows and projects.