You are viewing a preview of this job. Log in or register to view more details about this job.

Postdoctoral Research Associate - Systems Development (12373)


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the area of sustainable manufacturing with expertise in building new, advanced systems for plastic circularity. As part of this role, the candidate will be tasked to lead the management, development, and building of new plastics recycling equipment. The ideal candidate will have an interest in combining high-rate conveying and in-line characterization technologies to separate complex, multi-material streams. They should be comfortable working across interdisciplinary teams of people with multiple areas of expertise.  The candidate will need to have familiarity with different types of materials including polymers, metals, and others and will need to characterize the quality of products obtained from the equipment. The candidate should be self-driven and have a vested interest in moving the industrial state-of-the-art forward. The candidate will be expected to simultaneously execute multiple projects, contribute to development of new initiatives in their area, interact with ORNL staff, industry, and academic partners. This position resides in the Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies Group in the Manufacturing Science Division (MSD) of the Energy Science and Technology Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).


Our research team carries out high quality R&D focused on the sustainable composite manufacturing for applications in aerospace, automotive, and marine/shipbuilding industries, as well as trending areas of international composite research in material science, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and automation. As part of our research team, the candidate will develop novel technologies for enabling multi material separation. The candidate must have experience building new equipment, developing procedures for equipment usage, and serving as the main user for that equipment. The candidate will create new connections and maintain existing relationships with industrial and academic collaborators to create innovate, efficient, and sustainable polymer and composite manufacturing solutions. The successful candidate will support research in multi-material separation, systems development, scale-up, and innovation as well as connect with new collaborators to solve current industrial problems; publish original peer-reviewed research articles; and supervise students.


  • Conceptualize, design, build, use, and maintain new equipment to enable high-rate, multi-material separation
  • Quantify the quality of recycled products obtained from separation technologies
  • Manage multiple technical projects and meet milestones reliably
  • 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


  • A Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Industrial and/or Systems Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Polymer Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Sustainability, or a related discipline
  • Within 5 years after PhD degree.
  • A record of productive and creative research proven by publications in peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, and/or generation of IP such as patents/patent disclosures


  • Experience and expertise with analytical characterization techniques is plus such as DSC, FTIR, TGA, DMA, EDS, XRD, Rheology, electron and optical microscopy
  • Experience with modifying and maintaining industrial composite and polymer processing equipment.
  • Ability to maintain current connections and network within the composite and polymer manufacturing industry
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience
  • 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

Other Information:

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.