US Naval Research Laboratory Research Engineer Reviews

Updated Nov 5, 2019

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3.9
77%
Recommend to a Friend
56%
Approve of CEO
US Naval Research Laboratory Commanding Officer Scott D Moran
Scott D Moran
2 Ratings
  1. "Nice Work environment"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate 
    Recommends

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory for more than a year

    Pros

    Great chance to collaborate with best modelers and analysts

    Cons

    Sort of process for example, things to approve, is too slow.

  2. "Good place to work if there is funding"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Work life balance, competitive salary and benefits

    Cons

    Facilities, never ending search for funding

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  3. Helpful (1)

    "Stable work but not family friendly"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Physical Scientist in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The work is very stable and it's easy to make a career here. It's not uncommon to meet scientists who have been working on the same research for 30+ years. A lot of scientists here are from ivy league schools with impressive pedigrees and dozens of publications in top tier journals. My coworkers and Section Head were fantastic and I loved being surrounded by intelligent people. Despite the dilapidated buildings, there is some state-of-the-art technology to help with your research. The majority of research groups have base funding and don't have to constantly beg for money. My experience here added enough to my resume that I was able to accept a job offering DOUBLE my current pay. Even having the words "Naval Research Lab" on your resume gets you a lot of attention.

    Cons

    With all the good said, I have to focus on the fact that I don't find the NRL to be family friendly at all. There is no parental leave, child care through JBAB has a 2+ year waiting list, and while schedules are largely flexible, my Division Head looked at me like I had two heads when I told him I have to leave by 3 to pick up my daughter from the bus stop. Many people here don't even have families and, as a result, don't understand when you need a day off here or there due to school closings and child care hiccups. I understand that a career in research isn't family friendly to begin with, as taking any kind of extended leave ruins research timelines and screws any collaborators, but the NRL doesn't even try to mitigate this inherent obstacle. I was on the waiting list for a raise for almost 3 years before I decided to look for new employment. I just didn't feel like there was enough opportunity for advancement or broadening my area of research, and that the management didn't understand that there's more to life than conducting research. Looking back on my career, the lack of advancement and stagnated pay make me feel like I was taken advantage of. I wish I had looked for employment elsewhere sooner. It is a shame that these failings make it so appealing to leave an otherwise amazing laboratory.

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  4. Helpful (1)

    "Great research opportunities"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Physicist in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Freedom to pursue areas of interest and the opportunity to take advantage of internal funding as well as ties to other DOD funding agencies. Cooperation among different research groups is usually encouraged. For the most part, the employment is stable and cut throat competition is not the norm. The support personnel are helpful and hard working and realize that their primary goal is to enable and support the scientific research.

    Cons

    Although better than most DOD labs, there are still many counterproductive rules - computer security is increasingly intruding into ability to carry out research. There is subtle agism and favoritism in some advancement decisions - group managers are powerless to provide financial incentives. Since all promotions are tied to levels of management, one is stuck with the very poor personnel skills one would expect from manager-scientists with no management training. Quality of life is mediocre. Nice view of the Potomac River plus the odiferous reminder of the Blue Plains sewer treatment plant next door. A once active health club is barely maintained and underutilized. Food service is mediocre and not health promoting - Subway and a cafeteria. Thankfully food trucks are now allowed. Under the FERS retirement system one is at the mercy of the stock market and government contributions are not as attractive as company 401K's

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  5. "Intern Review"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Research Intern 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for less than a year

    Pros

    Perfect combination of a relaxed and professional environment.

    Cons

    There are zero cons for this internship experience.

  6. "Great People, Underfunded, Facilities are falling into disrepair"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate in Broomfield, CO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for more than a year

    Pros

    Working at NRL allows you to work on excellent research projects with a quality team of people

    Cons

    1) Government bureaucracy! 2) Facilities are falling apart. Some of the buildings need to be demolished, but they're standing due to some federal rules. Almost every roof is leaking. 3) Stinky neighbors! Sometime the smell of blue plains (DC's biggest water treatment plant) wafts over to us.

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  7. "Fantastic scientists to work around hindered by dated infrastructure and red tape"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Great team, everybody around me has a PhD (disclaimer: will depend on your division/branch of research), good availability of resources to conduct research, great compensation (highest I've seen for a postdoc outside of industry), flexible work schedule

    Cons

    Poor infrastructure, slow building and renovation work which often delays projects, typical bureaucratic red tape (not any worse than any other gov't organization), little to no real "food options" on site, anti-social colleagues (not necessarily a con for some people), lack of good public transportation from in or out of DC

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  8. "Great experience"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Research Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for more than a year

    Pros

    One of the most rewarding experiences I've had and I had the freedom to work on what I wanted with mentorship from expert researchers

    Cons

    There is a lot of red tape to go through to get papers published, but once you get used to it, it's fine.

  9. "Great resources poor management"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Materials Research Engineer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at US Naval Research Laboratory full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    NRL has some of the leading researchers in their field and the latest and greatest equipment. The potential to collaborate and work between disciplines is good.

    Cons

    Management direct as a whole changes frequently and is brutal for entry level scientists look to move up. The moral is low and work expectation are extremely high.

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  10. "Great place to work"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Research Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at US Naval Research Laboratory for more than a year

    Pros

    The environment fosters collaboration and there are many exciting projects.

    Cons

    There is a fair bit of red tape and hoops you need to jump through to get things approved by the Navy.

Found 26 reviews