Postdoc Research Associate - Industrial Decarbonization Workforce Development and Technical Support

Date: Feb 1, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11532 


As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory, ORNL has an extraordinary 80-year history of solving the nation’s biggest problems. We have a dedicated and creative staff of over 6,000 people! Our vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) is to cultivate an environment and practices that foster diversity in ideas and in the people across the organization, as well as to ensure ORNL is recognized as a workplace of choice. These elements are critical for enabling the execution of ORNL’s broader mission to accelerate scientific discoveries and their translation into energy, environment, and security solutions for the nation.


The Manufacturing Energy Efficiency Research & Analysis (MEERA) Group at ORNL is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to engage in research and technical support for industrial decarbonization workforce development. The ideal candidate should have a strong background in mechanical engineering, industrial energy systems, renewable energy, decarbonization, or other related fields. They should also possess experience in industrial workforce development and technical training.


In this role, the Postdoctoral Research Associate will:

  • Support the ORNL team in establishing a scalable industrial workforce consortium to address the current shortage of skilled labor in the industrial sector while advancing the US Department of Energy's vision for achieving zero-carbon industries.
  • Provide technical support and guidance to consortium partners to develop and pilot solutions that can be scaled for national reach and/or broad sectoral coverage.
  • Assist with ongoing industrial workforce development activities (e.g., In-Plant Trainings, Virtual In-Plant Trainings, Bootcamps, Webinar Series, etc.) for DOE Better Plants and Better Climate Challenge programs.
  • Conduct research and analysis on the status of the industrial workforce development market to identify gaps, barriers, and challenges, and propose long-term and scalable solutions.


The MEERA Group actively contributes to the efforts of the Department of Energy’s Industrial Efficiency & Decarbonization Office (IEDO) by providing technical assistance and workforce development. This role supports the IEDO’s vision to cultivate a large, diverse, and skilled clean energy workforce that will contribute to the growth of a strong, clean industrial sector.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

The Postdoctoral Research Associate will contribute to the efforts of the MEERA Group’s Industrial Workforce Development Team.

  • Support the steering committee to establish and operate the SEED Workforce Consortium:
    • Develop the goals, strategies, performance evaluation methodology, and pedagogical performance evaluation systems for the consortium.
    • Develop and release the RFPs for consortium partners selections.
    • Provide technical support and guidance to consortium partners via regular meetings.
  • Assist ORNL’s Better Plants team in organizing virtual in-plant trainings (VINPLTs), in-person in-plant trainings (INPLTs), Energy Bootcamps, and Carbon Bootcamps:
    • Manage virtual training sessions online.
    • Work with DOE system experts in developing training documents, quizzes, etc.
    • Assist in developing training agendas, interacting with energy experts, and manufacturing companies to coordinate training activities.
    • Maintain in-person in-plant training and bootcamp databases.
    • Develop monthly program impact reports to share with DOE program manager.
  • Coordinate with stakeholders and key training entities in the US on decarbonization workforce development proposals and activities.
  • Conduct research and analysis on the status of industrial workforce and impact of the workforce development programs: identify gaps and barriers for a competent and diverse industrial workforce; propose and implement long-term and scalable solutions.
  • 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 fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in energy engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Excellent quantitative and analytical skills acquired through PhD research, which can be applied to conduct research analyses in various fields.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, demonstrated through weekly presentations to sponsors and others, and in preparing reports, proposals, and journal articles.
  • Robust interpersonal skills for effective team building and leadership, coupled with a strong commitment to scientific integrity.
  • Profound understanding of energy efficiency, renewable and clean energy technologies, and decarbonization.
  • Familiarity with industrial processes, building science, heating and cooling technologies, and mechanical systems and controls.
  • Eagerness to acquire new skills and explore new areas.
  • Proficiency in using Excel for engineering data analysis.
  • Familiarity with numerical calculation and statistical data analysis techniques.
  • Extensive experience in manufacturing workforce development.

  • Strong understanding of pedagogical evaluation system design.

  • Certified Energy Manager (CEM®) or Renewable Energy Professional (REP™) certifications, or other certifications in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

  • Willingness to travel. You will be involved in meetings with DOE sponsors in Washington, DC, and will attend key conferences and workshops.

  • 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.


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.


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


Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented 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, Life Insurance, Pet Insurance, 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.


If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email: or call 1.866.963.9545.



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.

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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