Postdoctoral Research Associate - Buildings Equipment Research

Date: Feb 25, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12146 


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 Building Equipment Research Group in the Buildings and Transportation Science Division (BTSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking qualified candidates to fill a Postdoctoral researcher position. The work in this group supports the U.S. DOE Building Technology Office, Geothermal Technology Office, and other customers by developing state-of-the-art building equipment for energy efficiency, equipment-to-grid integration, and improved life cycle climate performance.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

The successful candidate will be responsible for conducting, coordinating, and reporting research assignments related to thermal systems including:

  • Heat transfer and heat exchanger evaluations as related to heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R), and next generation thermal systems for data centers, including:
    • Local heat transfer for pool and flow boiling and condensation
    • Thermal energy storage
    • Modeling and design of components for HVAC equipment
  • Working fluids and thermodynamic cycles for vapor compression systems, such as:
    • Residential air-conditioners and heat pumps
    • Commercial air-conditioning equipment such as rooftop units and chillers
    • Commercial refrigeration systems for supermarket applications
  • HVAC&R system design and performance evaluation
  • The candidate will be involved in developing experimental setups, conducting experimental campaigns, and performing theoretical analyses using modeling and simulation techniques. The work will involve interacting and collaborating with researchers from universities, national laboratories, and private industry.
  • 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:

  • The successful candidate must have a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years.
  • The candidate should excel in innovative thinking and problem solving, and possess a strong background in thermodynamics, fluid flow and heat transfer related to vapor compression and thermal systems in general.
  •  Experience in the modeling and/or testing of heat transfer processes such as pool boiling, flow evaporation, flow condensation and others.
  • Experience with the design, instrumentation, and operation of experimental apparatuses for testing of thermal systems.
  • Strong communication (written and verbal) and interpersonal skills.
  • The successful candidate should have a strong background in project management with a proven publication record.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Proficiency in technical/scientific writing
  • 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.


For more information, please contact Brian Fricke (


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:



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