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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Polymer Chemistry

Date: Sep 13, 2021

Location: Knoxville, TN, US, 37932

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 6554 


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 expertise in polymer chemistry who will focus on the development of novel recyclable thermoplastic and thermoset systems, with an emphasis on use of sustainable feedstocks.


The selected candidate will conduct experimental research around the synthesis, chemical modification, and recycling of these polymer systems, with additional work on leveraging these materials in manufacturing applications. The postdoctoral research associate will be expected to collaborate amongst groups focusing on basic and applied research in various fields applicable to the current projects. The candidate will be expected to simultaneously support multiple projects, contribute to development of new initiatives in your area, interact with ORNL staff, industry and academic partners.



As part of our research team, the selected candidate will develop novel recyclable thermoplastic and thermoset systems which include features such as dynamic bonding. These materials will also be scaled up for use on a variety of manufacturing equipment. Candidate will also be expected to functionalize existing systems to introduce recyclability and enhance properties. Expertise in polymer chemistry, materials, and benchtop chemistry is critical for this position. The successful candidate will support research in design, synthesis, and modification of thermoplastic and thermoset resin chemistries, as well as scaling up of these techniques; publish original peer-reviewed research articles; collobrate with peers and supervise students.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Perform hands-on synthesis and characterization of polymer materials
  • Design novel thermoplastic and thermoset polymer systems with inherent recyclability
  • Modify existing thermoplastic and thermoset systems to introduce recyclability
  • Scale up developed chemistries for large scale applications.
  • Incorporate materials into manufacturing processes
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Help to support team goals and collaborate 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 Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry, Polymer Science and Engineering, and Materials Science, 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 with sustainable feedstocks and their use in polymer materials
  • Experience with analytical characterization techniques such as DSC, FTIR, TGA, DMA, XPS, Solid/liquid state NMR, etc.
  • Extensive hands-on laboratory synthesis experience, including organic and/or polymer synthesis
  • Design of novel thermoplastic and/or thermoset polymer materials
  • 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