Postdoctoral Research Associate - Computational Study of Solvation Structure

Date: Jun 30, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, Oak Ridge

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12185 


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.


We are seeking a skilled postdoctoral research associate who will focus on computational studies, including classical atomistic modeling and first-principles calculations, of ion solvation structure and electrodeposition process at nonaqueous and aqueous interfaces. This position is within the Energy Storage and Conversion Group (ESCG) in the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and will involve collaborations with scientists/team members from an Energy Earthshot Research Center (EERC) team within and outside of ORNL. Potential candidates are expected to contribute to developing methods to perform computational simulations to study ion solvation structure in various liquid medium and at the interfaces. The successful candidate will join a large diverse team with a background in physics, materials, and chemistry. Close collaboration with experimental colleagues is expected.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop force-field parameters benchmarked against ab initio computational results for complex liquid systems using machine learning.
  • Perform molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to study solvation structures of ions in solution and at interfaces
  • Work closely with experimental collaborators to help interpret results obtained from electrochemistry and advanced characterizations to advance the scientific understanding.
  • 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 materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A strong background and experience in modeling liquid systems and interfaces Substantial experience in the study of structural in liquid and liquid-solid interfaces using MD simulations, with some experience in ab initio methods (e.g., DFT, AIMD), scientific programming and machine learning
  • An excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by educationally equivalent production including reports, presentations, publications in peer-reviewed journals, patents, or commercial products
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative and frequently interacting teams of researchers 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever-changing needs
  • Teamwork skills are essential. The candidate is expected to think and work independently and conduct research in a highly interdisciplinary environment of chemists, physicists, and materials scientists.


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:

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  • 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.

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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.