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Group Lead, Materials & Chemistry

Date: Jun 3, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 5798 


The Proliferation Detection and Deterrence Section within the Nuclear Nonproliferation Division seeks applications for a Senior R&D Staff Member to lead a research group advancing materials science in support of national nonproliferation objectives. The group leverages ORNL’s advanced scientific resources including world-class neutron and computing facilities, to further the fundamental science which underpins our national nonproliferation capabilities. The group leads research in the fields of actinide chemistry, materials science, and leverages extensive knowledge in fuel cycle processes. Fulfillment of this position seeks to ensure continued research excellence in the advance study of fuel cycle materials and to develop new research avenues to enable continued success in the nonproliferation mission space.


The National Security Sciences Directorate conducts research and development to confront some of the nation’s most difficult security challenges and adversaries. Our directorate houses S&T leadership in cybersecurity and cyber-physical resiliency, data analytics, geospatial science and technology, nuclear nonproliferation, and high-performance computing for sensitive national security missions. We draw on the Laboratory’s exceptional facilities and work closely with leading researchers in other areas at the lab such as nuclear and chemical sciences and engineering, applied materials, advanced manufacturing, biosecurity, transportation, and computing. Our multi-disciplinary research teams are passionate about discovery and innovation as we create science-based solutions to complex security threats that put public safety, national defense, energy infrastructure, and the economy at risk.


Our commitment to diversity:  As we strive to become the world’s premier research institution in the sciences and technologies that underpin critical national security missions, we are committed to creating an inclusive environment that highly values a diverse workforce. We recognize that a breadth of perspectives, insights, and experiences are necessary to drive the level of innovation and discovery that is mission critical to national security sciences. Our commitment extends beyond our workforce to the next generation of researchers with STEM education outreach that seeks to engage a diverse range of students.



The Group Leader will provide Research and Development (R&D) leadership to the group that strategically advances science and technology consistent with ORNL’s aspiration to be the world’s premier R&D institution and ORNL’s science culture.

The R&D Group Leader brings together a group of peers with the primary goal of pursuing global scientific leadership in their field, nurtures ORNL’s culture among group members, and continues to build and scale up individual excellence and impact in R&D. The R&D Group Leader reports to and works closely with the R&D Section Head to implement the group’s scientific vision; develops group members to enable their career advancement; establishes capabilities that enable programs to excel at the forefront of science and technology; performs R&D to advance the field of knowledge and/or technology in one’s respective specialty; sets, implements, and models standards for performance of work consistent with Environment, Safety, Security, Health, and Quality (ESH&Q) requirements and business rules; and ensures a diverse and inclusive work environment where every employee feels safe, heard, and appreciated—a workplace that sets an example for the broader community.


Major Duties/Responsibilities

This position will entail leading the growth of our work in experimental and computational chemistry, with intention of advancing the scientific basis for nonproliferation materials characterization. The ideal candidate will be expected to bring expertise in both computational and analytical chemistry, as applied to solid-phase systems. Furthermore, this role requires the candidate to leverage past experiences in fundamental chemistry to solve current and future threats to the nuclear nonproliferation mission space. A Senior R&D contributor is expected to draw on ORNL’s exceptional scientific resources to strengthen our national capabilities to analyze, assess, and interpret unique chemistries of the nuclear fuel cycle.


Job Description

The successful candidate will be required to advance our understanding of materials associated with fuel cycle processes. In doing so, the position requires the ability to grow the breadth of research being executed within the group in the fields of experimental, computational, and operational materials analysis. Therefore, the candidate must have demonstrated prior experience succeeding in a dynamic team environment. The ideal candidate is expected to produce high-impact science delivered in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as conference and university engagements. Demonstrated excellent communication skills are required.


R&D group leaders are scientists, engineers, or analysts who are recognized leaders in their area of technical expertise. The group leader initiates, leads, and performs independent R&D on an ongoing basis.


Basic Qualifications:

  • Requires a Ph.D. with a minimum of 6 years relevant experience, a M.S. with a minimum of 12 years experiences, B.S. with 15 years’ experience in Chemistry, Nuclear Engineering, Materials Science, Physics, or related field.
  • Demonstrated record of excellence, as evident by publication.
  • Demonstrated experience in a variety of characterization techniques including vibrational spectroscopy, crystallography, and mass spectrometry.
  • Qualified candidates should have demonstrated experience in leading R&D teams.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated record of supporting the professional development of research staff, growing a world-class research program, initiating new research directions and strong team building capability.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, the ability to work independently, outstanding written and oral communication skills, and good organizational skills.
  • Extensive knowledge of the nuclear fuel cycle and associated technologies.
  • Experience in the fields of nuclear nonproliferation, counterproliferation, or intelligence as it pertains to nuclear fuel cycle.


Special Requirements: This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a Sensitive Compartmented Investigation (SCI) clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse (WSAP) testing designated position. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program. In addition, due the SCI, you may be also be subject to random polygraph testing.



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.

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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