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The CNLS Visitor Program

The Visitor Program is one of the major institutional activities of the Center. Since the CNLS serves as an interface between mission critical research at LANL and the outside research community. The Visitor Program is an activity of vital importance for the Center and the Laboratory.

In particular, the visitor program accomplishes the following:

  • It enables the CNLS to identify and explore the widest possible range of nonlinear and complex systems problems.
  • It provides outside researchers with access to the theoretical, experimental and computational resources of the Laboratory.
  • It helps disseminate the latest developments in nonlinear and complex systems science.
  • It helps form and fosters research collaborations between LANL researchers and outside researchers and academia.

CNLS Visitor Program Description

  • There are anywhere between 100 and 300 people visiting CNLS every year.

  • Virtually all CNLS visitors give one or more talks in form of a seminar, colloquium, or as a distingushed lectureship. Even if the visit is for the purpose of collaboration, the visitor is expected to give one lecture on her or his research.
  • Most visitors spend a few days (3-5) at CNLS, however, occasionally there are long term visitors who spend anywhere between a month to a whole year at the CNLS.

CNLS Visitor Policy


  • Almost all visitors are cost shared between the host's group and CNLS, exception being made for colloquium speakers, or distinguished visitors such as Kac lecturers, or members of the External Advisory Committee.
  • When a Laboratory member wishes to bring a visitor, they must fill out the Visitor Request Form.
  • If the visitor is a Foreign National, and if, especially, a Sensitive Foreign National, time has to be given for the processing of the paperwork, in particular the FVTS request for DOE approval. This is a DOE requirement for all foreign nationals visiting LANL or collaborating with a LANL employee. For a Non-Sensitive Foreign National a minimum of 45 calendar days, while for a Sensitive Foreign National a minimum of 90 calendar days must be allowed for the FVTS request to be processed. A foreign national visitor cannot commence his/her visit or collaboration, until the pertinent paperwork has gone through the corresponding channels of approval.
  • US Citizen visitor we request a minimum of 25 calendar days for the request to be processed.
  • Visitors can be outside researchers, or students or postdocs, including LANL interviewees.
  • ALL visitors must be hosted by a laboratory employee. Every foreign national must have both a US citizen host and a US citizen co-host from LANL.
  • The talk title and abstract must be supplied to the the CNLS office (cnlsoffice @, ahead of time (preferably two weeks) for proper internal advertisement of the talk.
  • Visitors, whose CNLS cost share totals less than $2,000, are approved or disapproved by the Administrative Staff (Director or Deputy Director). Visitors with CNLS costs larger than $2000 are usually discussed with the Executive Committee.
  • The Administrative Staff reserves the right to request further documentation from the host or the visitor, such as a Curriculum Vitae, in order to help make a decision.
  • Once the visitor is approved, the CNLS office staff will process the paperwork, with the host or the visitor supplying the necessary information to the office staff.
  • All visitors are requested to use CNLS as affiliation, or in the acknowledgements section of any publication to which the CNLS visit contributed in a major way.
  • A Visitor Request Form is required for ALL visitors, even when only space (no funding or administrative assistance) is requested.


  • Virtually all foreign national visitors cannot receive an honorarium (paid for visits of less than 7 days). US Citizens can receive an honorarium. No LANL visitor can receive a daily fee (paid for visits over 7 days). CNLS rarely pays an honorarium to any visitors. If you would like to request an honorarium for your visitor, you should have non-CNLS funds available for that cost.
  • Approved visitor expenses are reimbursed after the visitor submits to the CNLS office the receipts and the signed reimbursement forms. Receipts are required if a reimbursement to be made.
  • The CNLS reimbursement process fully complies with the corresponding DOE regulations and LANL reimbursement policy.
  • CNLS only processes the paperwork and submits the request to the LANL CFO office, which reviews the request and issues the check. CNLS does not issue checks. The check is then sent via interoffice mail to the CNLS office which then mails it out to the recipient. Since this is a lengthy process, the visitor is advised to submit receipts without delay after completion of the visit.
  • With the exception of pre-approved cases (such as for members of the External Advisory Committee), CNLS does not pay fees or honoraria to the visitors. That is the responsibility of the host and his/her group. CNLS will only contribute to the travel expenses, lodging and per-diem of the visitor.

Long Term Visitors Policy

  • Long-term visitors are approved or disapproved by the Executive Committee.
  • Typical cases include sabbatical visits, or collaborations.
  • In all cases the visit must be strongly motivated by emphasizing the benefit to LANL and CNLS when making the request to CNLS (in the cover letter).
  • In all cases a two-page research proposal must be submitted to the EC on the research to be performed at CNLS, along with a detailed Curriculum Vitae of the visitor.
  • Please be aware that no LANL visitor can receive a daily fee (paid for visits over 7 days).

Recurrent Visitors

CNLS has a number of "alumni", or senior affiliates, who regularly come and visit CNLS. These visitors are of exceptional value to CNLS, since they have a historical perspective of the Center and its research, and their interaction with the CNLS postdocs and students is of great benefit to both the CNLS and to the recurrent visitor. Recurrent visitors are reimbursed for travel expenses, lodging and the per-diem established at the government rate. Any other fees, honoraria or salaries will be paid by the visitor's host (if any).
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