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ESTD/BESSD Science Writer and Communications Specialist

Date: Jan 14, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9719 

This position is located on-site at our facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.



Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking an early career science writer and communications content creator who is passionate about contributing to the nation’s decarbonization effort in response to global climate change. The position resides in ORNL’s Communications Division and is part of a team of experienced communicators embedded with the Energy Science and Technology Directorate (ESTD) and the Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate (BESSD). The ideal candidate will have experience in writing and digital media (such as social media, web, and video creation).


ESTD focuses on developing and deploying technology that can make a difference in decarbonization over the short term while performing cutting-edge research on longer-term projects that support national carbon goals. ESTD plays a pivotal role in America’s transformation to a clean, efficient, flexible, and secure energy future. Our researchers deliver breakthroughs in energy from generation to distribution and storage to end use in support of US Department of Energy (DOE) missions. Our scientists and engineers work with many of America’s best innovators and businesses to research, develop, and deploy cutting-edge technologies and to break down market barriers in sustainable transportation, smart power systems, and energy efficiency for homes, buildings, and manufacturing.


BESSD research advances understanding of the natural world and focuses on improving sustainability and US competitiveness in the global bioeconomy. Scientists are developing solutions for pressing societal challenges such as climate change, clean water, hardier crops, biodiversity, and upcycling plastics. Research areas range from genes to ecosystems with an emphasis on connecting genes to organism traits and behaviors; these connections facilitate the lab’s biodesign activities (such as engineering microbes to produce valuable chemicals or bioenergy crops to store more carbon in the soil). ORNL leads large field experiments in the Arctic and the Minnesota peatlands for DOE. BESSD is home to the Climate Change Science Institute, the Center for Bioenergy Innovation, and data centers that house millions of atmospheric and terrestrial measurements for DOE and NASA.


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Understand and communicate about complex science and technology topics and interact with researchers to produce timely, interesting, and compelling communications products that readily convey the importance of the work at ORNL to multiple audiences, including DOE, congressional staffers, scientists, sponsors, industry partners, the ORNL employee community, visitors, and the non-technical, yet science-interested, public.
  • Create content such as social media posts, website and newsletter content, feature articles, science highlights, news releases, marketing content, video scripts, and internal communications products that align with communications strategic plans.
  • Work under moderate supervision from the ESTD and BESSD communications coordinators and in collaboration with other Communications team members to provide needed support and products. Work with graphic designers, animators, photographers, and video producers to develop attractive and high-visual-impact materials.
  • Comply with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, electronic media, public relations, marketing, English, a science, or other related field.
  • A minimum of two years of experience producing communications products for general audiences. 

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Ability to assist the team in growing the social media presence for ESTD and BESSD by supporting social media accounts, developing multimedia content, planning campaigns, posting regular updates, monitoring interactions, and analyzing metrics.
  • Ability to develop, update, and maintain informative and compelling website content, adhering to a consistent schedule to keep information fresh and encourage return visits. Analyze and report site metrics, and assist with benchmarking laboratory and industry best practices to maximize site and content effectiveness for relevant audiences.
  • Ability to organize and analyze information from various scientific and often highly technical sources, including interviews with subject matter experts and review of published scientific papers, to produce content in concise and approachable language without loss of technical meaning.
  • Ability to assist the team in developing communications projects from concept to completion within deadlines.
  • Excellent scientific/technical reading, writing, and editing skills (will be expected to provide writing samples).
  • Video production and editing skills are a plus.
  • Communications experience in a national laboratory setting or other large research institution, including academia and industry.



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.




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