Postdoctoral Research Associate - Catalysis

Date: Sep 14, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11404 



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.


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is seeking to fill a Postdoctoral Research Position for catalysis in our Chemical Process Science Research Group in the Energy and Transportation Science Division. The postdoc will become part of our catalytic upgrading team that involves on-going collaborations among multiple national laboratories and universities. The successful candidate will conduct research in activation and conversion of carbon dioxide to high-value chemicals. Research will include catalyst development, reaction engineering, batch and continuous flow reactor development, synthetic and analytical chemistry.


The research spans basic to applied research technology for carbon management. The candidate will be expected to work in multi-disciplinary teams. The Chemical Process Science Research Group is a highly collaborative interdisciplinary team of chemical engineers, material scientists, physical and synthetic chemists, and computational modelling working on clean energy technologies. The postdoc will be encouraged to collaborate with colleagues at other National Laboratories as well as other ORNL researchers and actively present results at team meetings and conferences.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Perform synthesis and improve synthetic strategies to scale up synthesis, characterization of novel hybrid polymer catalysts to meet project goals. 
  • Fix bed, batch and other reactor knowledge with experience experiment design, and mechanistic understanding to carry out reactions such as hydrogenation, oxygenation, reductions, coupling, dehydrogenations, and dehydration reactions.
  • Perform and identify compounds and products with characterization tools (e.g., NMR, XRD, sorption analysis, TGA-MS, FTIR, GC-MS/FID, TEM/SEM)
  • Participate in aspects of chemical process development, including technoeconomic analysis, lifecycle analysis and process scale-up.
  • Work with the principal investigator and others as a team player to maintain a high level of scientific productivity and to meet project/task milestones.
  • Responsible for preparing, presenting, and reporting research results and publishing scientific results in key peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner.
  • Work with the principal investigator as necessary in developing new ideas and solving problems
  • Communicate and collaborate with researchers and engineers operating experimental systems to design complementary experiments and physically realistic simulations, analyze data, and interpret results
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.
  • 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 chemical engineering, chemistry, or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • An excellent record of productive and creative research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conferences
  • Capable of conducting creative research independently with minimal supervision
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment and interact effectively with a broad range of colleagues
  • Desired experience in catalyst synthesis and characterization.  Experience with high pressure reactions, catalyst development and synthesis of organics and/or catalysts. Excellent analytical skills to determine composition of complex mixtures and to identify major species present using an array of complimentary techniques and capable of describing mechanisms.
  • Familiarity with CO2 capture and conversion and upgrading pathways CO2 fuels and chemicals.
  • 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.

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