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Group Leader for Composites Science and Technology

Date: Jun 19, 2022

Location: Knoxville, TN, US, 37932

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 6485 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking science and technology leaders for our advanced composites research and development program in the Manufacturing Science Division.  Due to program growth, we are restructuring our current Advanced Composites Manufacturing Group into three research and development groups with the following group names and technical themes:

  • Extreme Environment Composites Group
    • materials for harsh environments, carbon-carbon composites, ceramic composites
  • Sustainable Manufacturing Technology Group
    • biomaterials for composites, bio-polymers, recyclability, sustainability
  • Integrated Processes Manufacturing Group
    • advanced manufacturing processes, composites characterization methodologies, quality control via digital thread


ORNL is seeking three Group Leaders to lead these three research and development groups.  This posting is a “parent” type posting; so, applicants to this posting may apply to any or all of the three open positions.  Candidates selected for interviews will be given the option to specify which Group Leader position(s) the candidate is interested in fulfilling.



Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is home to two signature manufacturing user facilities of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF, and the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (CFTF,  Our research and development in the Manufacturing Science Division (MSD) at ORNL is conducted at these world-class facilities in close collaboration with industry stakeholders and partner universities.  Program goals include energy efficiency for manufacturing processes, strengthening U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing, achieving sustainable manufacturing from renewable feedstocks through end-of-life recyclability, enabling cost-effective manufacturing of clean energy technologies, defining process control methodologies to enable advanced quality control, definition of commercial feasibility via life-cycle and techno-economic analyses, workforce development, national security and more.  The research is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office as well as other entities including other federal agencies and industry (often via Cooperative Research and Development Agreement mechanisms).  ORNL’s manufacturing program also leverages extensive capabilities in materials science, neutron sciences, and computational science in ORNL’s science programs.  The ecosystem for science, innovation, and technology advancement to point of transfer to industry is dynamic, energetic, and unique with a history of impact achieved through continued dedication along the innovation-to-commercialization technology cycle.


ORNL’s unique facilities enable composites R&D including fiber manufacturing using a variety of precursors, intermediate feedstock manufacturing, rapid processes such as injection molding and compression molding as well as advanced additive manufacturing. Recycling facilities are located on-site to allow re-manufacturing of petroleum-derived as well as bio-derived materials. Manufacturing equipment of various scales for fiber, intermediate feedstock, and part fabrication is in place to rapidly perform science necessary for scale-up of relevant technologies to enable transition to industry or national security-related entities. The growing composites manufacturing R&D team at ORNL has received numerous awards for generating early-stage concepts at the laboratory level, scaling, and rapidly transitioning new manufacturing technology to partners and sponsors.


The successful candidate will lead a team of 8-12 researchers with diverse backgrounds and capabilities to achieve impactful outcomes in advanced composites manufacturing.  The position is a hybrid position consisting of technical leadership and performance as well as people leadership and management responsibilities, but the emphasis is on team science – our cornerstone of success.  Roles and responsibilities and qualifications are listed below.


Candidates selected for the interview process will be expected to provide a seminar presentation representing their technical accomplishments as well as their vision for the group.  External applicants will be briefed on the organizational structure and program in a pre-interview meeting to provide adequate background to present a vision during the interview process.



  • Lead research programs in advanced composites manufacturing
  • Lead people and cross-disciplinary teams
  • Collaborate across the division and directorate organizations within ORNL
  • Develop and foster collaborations with external entities including industry, university, and other national labs
  • Recruit and hire diverse talent
  • Mentor, coach, and develop staff including promoting staff for career advancement and opportunities
  • Ensure safe operations and compliance to environmental, health, and safety policies
  • Conduct nationally recognized research with outcomes as measured by publications in peer-reviewed journals, presentations at major conferences, and development and transfer of technology innovations
  • Actively participate in technical profession societies and associated conferences and forums
  • Represent ORNL and programs to sponsors and external stakeholders
  • Lead business development thrusts including research proposals and development of diverse proposal teams
  • Ensure efficient and timely utilization of space and budget resources



  • A Ph.D. in Materials Science, Materials Engineering, or a related discipline
  • Minimum of six years of relevant experience beyond Ph.D.
  • A record of productive and creative research and development as demonstrated by peer-review journal publications, presentations, and/or patents
  • A record of securing funding for research and development activities



  • Experience with R&D involving industrial partners
  • Experience with building and leading teams
  • Experience with polymer/composite manufacturing environment and applications.
  • 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 participate creatively in a collaborative environment and frequently interacting with 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
  • Familiarity with Industry 4.0 and how it relates to composites manufacturing




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