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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Sustainable and Circular Manufacturing
Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Knoxville, Tennessee
Date Posted 09/16/2021
Admin-Laboratory and Research
Employment Type
Application Deadline Open until filled

Requisition Id 6560 


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 sustainable manufacturing with experience in sustainable manufacturing practices related to composites and the development of circular economies.


Our research team performs R&D work focused on sustainable composite material development for aerospace, automotive, and marine/shipbuilding industries as well as in the areas of international composite research in material science, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and automation.


The selected candidate will conduct and propose experimental research around development of bio-based feedstocks and composites recycling technologies such as compounding and re-pelletizing, chemical recycling, enzymatic recycling, and thermochemical recovery, as well as propose and investigate other methods of creating sustainability in manufacturing processes.


As part of our research team, the candidate will innovate new methods for creating sustainability and circularity in composites manufacturing. The candidate must have previous experience with thermomechanical, chemical, and/or enzymatic recycling technologies. Additionally, the candidate will contribute to the development of bio-based materials for composites and polymer manufacturing and integrate these materials into recycling technologies. Experience with lifecycle and technoeconomic analyses is a plus. The candidate will be expected to simultaneously execute multiple projects, contribute to development of new initiatives, 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: 

  • Perform composite and polymer processing utilizing twin-screw extrusion, injection molding, compression molding, etc. of novel material systems
  • Design and innovate hybrid composite and polymer processing techniques based on existing technologies
  • Conduct mechanical, thermal, and morphological characterization of novel hybrid material systems
  • Establish and manage relevant research collaborations and projects with new industrial partners
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Help to support 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 Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Polymer Science and Engineering, Chemistry, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • Experience with polymer processing, composites, and polymer chemistry
  • A record of productive and creative research proven by publications in peer-reviewed journals and/or conference presentations


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with and understanding of composites recycling technologies
  • Experience with lifecycle and technoeconomic analyses
  • Experience with polymer and composites processing techniques
  • Expertise in analytical characterization techniques such as DSC, FTIR, TGA, DMA, EDS, XRD, rheology, and electron and optical microscopy
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative and frequently interacting teams of researchers 
  • 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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