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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Sustainability
Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Knoxville, Tennessee
Date Posted 09/15/2021
Admin-Laboratory and Research
Employment Type
Application Deadline Open until filled

Requisition Id 6553 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Advanced Composites Manufacturing Group in the Manufacturing Science Division, Energy Science and Technology Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the area of sustainability to expand and improve circular economies and sustainability in manufacturing and related industries.


Our research team carries out high quality R&D focused on the strategic sustainable composite material and manufacturing needs of the aerospace, automotive, and marine/shipbuilding industries as well as trending areas of international composite research in material science, mechanical and chemical engineering, and automation. As part of our research team, the candidate will identify and investigate new pathways for creating sustainability and circularity, beyond recycling, in composites manufacturing.


The selected candidate will identify, propose, and conduct research related to improving and creating new pathways for sustainable manufacturing in current areas of interest such as composites, thermoplastics, thermosets, tooling, and processing equipment. The candidate will be expected to simultaneously execute multiple projects, contribute to development of new initiatives in your area, interact with ORNL staff, industry, and academic partners.


The selected candidate will develop new processes and product designs and identify pathways to reduce processing waste and increase energy efficiency for current and future composite manufacturing technologies. Experience with life cycle and techno economic analysis is a plus. The candidate will be expected to simultaneously execute multiple projects, contribute to development of new initiatives in their area, and interact with ORNL staff, industry, and academic partners. The successful candidate will support research in designing, creating, and demonstrating innovative methods for creating sustainability and circularity in composites manufacturing; publish original peer-reviewed research articles; and supervise students.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Create digitalization for workflow to capture supply chain innovation and materials and product tracing
  • Engage with industry to identify new areas of research in sustainability
  • Develop automation and digitalization in workflow for better manufacturing design for materials at end of life
  • Design production monitoring and notification systems into current equipment to eliminate waste
  • Create and implement digital tools (RFID, SCADA, MES, ERP, etc.) into manufacturing systems
  • Identify new supply chains and waste streams for utilization in polymer and composite processing
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Help for team goals and work with other team members
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Environmental and Ecological Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Industrial Engineering Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • A record of productive and creative research proven by publications in peer-reviewed journals and/or conference presentations


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience and knowledge of composite manufacturing technologies
  • Experience with life cycle and techno economic analysis
  • Experience with polymer processing techniques
  • Strong understanding and implementation of the framework for sustainability
  • Knowledge and previous of experience utilizing strategies for circularityExcellent written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
  • View Profile
  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville

*Please mention to employers when applying for this job*
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