Postdoctoral Research Associate - Building Sensing and Control

Date: Jul 5, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12835 


The Grid Interactive Controls Research Group (GICR) in the Electrification and Energy Infrastructure Division (EEID) within the Energy Science and Technology Directorate (ESTD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate. The Grid Interactive Controls group specializes in pioneering innovations at the edge of today’s power grid, concentrating on fortifying grid security, enhancing reliability, bolstering resilience and advancing decarbonization. Our primary focus lies in the comprehensive 'Everything-to-Grid' (X2G) strategies, developing ground breaking solutions in grid-edge integration and control. Our commitment revolves around seamlessly incorporating emerging distributed energy resources, including demand response emerging at the grid edge, providing essential services crucial to its reliable operation. Employing a diverse range of disciplines such as control theory, optimization, economics, game theory, data analytics, and machine learning, the Grid Interactive Controls group delves deeply into understanding intricate grid-edge operations. Researchers are dedicated to laying the groundwork for optimal X2G integration and utilization. Group initiatives encompass innovative sensor technologies, advanced modeling techniques, and precise control mechanisms specifically designed for the grid edge. Research promotes grid-interactive efficient buildings as pivotal components in advancing building-to-grid integration, amplifying their role in electrification of heating and ultimately shaping the future decarbonized grid.


Selection will be based on qualifications, relevant experience, skills, and education. The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and independent in conducting research under general guidance and is expected to prepare manuscripts for scientific publication and present the work to sponsors and at conferences.  As part of our research team, the candidate will be responsible for conducting, coordinating, and reporting complex research assignments related to buildings, specifically: 1) system modeling and optimization with applications to building-to-grid integration, and 2) software development to support the deployment of advanced control strategies in real building systems. Your work will be interacting and collaborating with researchers from universities, national laboratories, and private industry. You will have the opportunity to interface directly with program sponsors and lead proposal development teams.


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Creating methods and tools to advance the state-of-the-art and market adoption of demand flexibility and optimal control of building systems.
  • Developing technical papers, guidance documents, presentations, and outreach materials for internal and external audiences
  • 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:

  • Phd degree in a related scientific field (e.g. architecture, architectural/mechanical/electrical engineering) completed within the last 5 years.
  • Experience in leading or contributing to journal articles.
  • Technical knowledge and experience in commercial building HVAC design and operation
  • Experience in developing software with Python for building-related applications.
  • Experience in modeling building operations with physics-based models, such as EnergyPlus, and data-driven models, such as neural networks.
  • Experience in developing advanced building control strategies, such as model predictive control and reinforcement learning.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Excellent oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and 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.
  • Experience in developing software specifications and requirements documents.
  • Experience in using the Git and CI/CD pipeline.
  • Demonstrated ability to program in Julia or Modelica.


Special Requirements

Some travel will be required for this position.


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.


Please include a discussion of your research interests and how neutron scattering can support your plan for research during your time at ORNL in your cover letter with your application.


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.


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:


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