Group Leader, Material Signature and Isotopic Standards

Date: Aug 31, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11536 



We are seeking a senior researcher to lead the world-class capabilities of the newly formed Material Signature and Isotopic Standards (MSIS) group. The group will develop and perform detailed analytical characterizations on a variety of nuclear materials as well as those for certification of reference materials. The group’s focus areas will be in the development of instrumentation and methodologies for high precision traceable methods for isotopics, elemental assays, and quantification of trace impurities in bulk, nuclear, and environmental matrices. This position resides in Material Signature and Isotopic Standards (MSIS) Group in the Nuclear Analytical Chemistry (NAC) Section, Chemicals Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).


As the R&D Group Leader, you will lead a highly functional team of peers with the primary goal of pursuing global scientific leadership in the field of analytical sciences. This will include establishing relationships and writing proposals to develop new research focus areas and strengthen current programs and capabilities and to advance knowledge and/or technology in the analytical sciences. You will also lead research for the development of prototypes of analytical instruments and innovative devices for measurements as well as methodologies for mass spectrometry to address challenging analytical problems.


Another expectation of this Leader is to champion ORNL’s culture of scientific excellence within the group by continuing to shape and scale up staff excellence and impact in R&D and projects. And, to continually improve on the group's quality systems for its analytical operations per its accreditation to ISO 17025. In this role, you will work closely with your line manager, the R&D Section Head, to implement the group’s scientific vision and establish capabilities that enable programs to excel.


Our ideal Group Leader will be a subject matter expert in material handling and isotopic/ assay analysis. We're also looking for someone to have some familiarity with inorganic mass spectrometry and protocols for working with radiological material.


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Develop a vision and implement a cohesive group research strategy to ensure the success of new and ongoing research projects to position the group for future success.

  • Participate/ lead in the initiation of new research directions and development of research proposals to contend for internal and external funding.

  • Lead collaboration with other scientists and technical personnel in a fast-paced, flexible work environment.

  • Attract a high quality, diverse pool of candidates and hire staff members who are committed to world-class R&D and aspire to be the best in their field.

  • Assist staff in setting performance goals consistent with the group’s strategy and members’ long-term career goals. Provide feedback to address performance issues in a timely manner.

  • Certify the technical quality of the group’s products and services.

  • Provide relevant input to assist the R&D Section Head with staff development while providing direct and impactful mentorship to staff on regular basis.

  • Lead by example by exercising the principles in ORNL’s “Research Code of Conduct” as a guide for proposing, performing, and communicating research.

  • Lead ESH&Q by example and ensure all work is carried out safely, securely, and in compliance with ORNL policies, standards, and procedures.

  • Advance the reputation of the group members and standing of the group as a whole through establishing collaborations, Professional Society leadership and involvement, and organization of technical events.

  • Maintain effective communications concerning scientific efforts internal and external to the laboratory, including publication of results in peer-reviewed journals and presentation of results at scientific meetings.

  • Travel will be required to brief sponsors, conduct field exercises, and attendance of scientific conferences.

  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by encouraging a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A Ph.D. with a minimum of six years relevant experience, a M.S. with a minimum of 12 years relevant experience, or a BS and 15 years of experience.

  • Proven experience leading R&D and/or technical teams.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with plasma/thermal/electron bombardment ionization mass spectrometry.

  • Experience preparing and cleanly handling various materials.

  • Demonstrated collaborative research experience (academic, industry, government agencies)

  • Experience with analysis using mass spectrometry or radiochemistry.

  • Experience in instrument setup, trouble shooting, and repair.

  • Ability to read electronic diagrams.

  • 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 on time and adapt to evolving needs.


Special Requirements:

  • Three letters of reference are required and can be uploaded to your profile or emailed directly to Please include the title of the position in the subject line.

  • This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain an HSPD-12 PIV badge and the ability to obtain and maintain a 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.

  • Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.


Benefits at ORNL:

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain hard-working people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.


Other benefits include: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Pet Insurance, Disability Benefits, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.




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