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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Environmental Biogeochemistry/Hydrogeochemistry

Date: Jun 14, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 8434 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Plant-Soil Interactions Group in the Environmental Sciences Division (ESD), Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate (BESSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The postdoctoral researcher will have experience in environmental (bio/hydro)geochemistry. This researcher will couple environmental sensors with a suite of analytical tools to evaluate how biogeochemical processes vary across environmental gradients. The candidate will work with world-leading biogeochemical modelers and experimental and field researchers to support research through the Early Career Research Program and Critical Interfaces Science Focus Area.


ESD is an interdisciplinary research and development organization with more than 60 years of achievement in local, regional, national, and international environmental research. Our vision is to expand scientific knowledge and develop innovative strategies and technologies that will strengthen the nation’s leadership in creating solutions to help sustain the Earth’s natural resources. Our scientists conduct research, develop technology, and perform analyses to understand and assess responses of environmental systems at the environment-human interface and the consequences of alternative energy and environmental strategies.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

The selected candidate will have responsibility for collaboratively leading field and laboratory studies to investigate how aqueous geochemistry varies across redox and salinity gradients at terrestrial-aquatic interfaces. In particular, the candidate will be expected to develop and maintain an environmental sensor network, routinely perform local and remote field work to collect environmental samples and analyze geochemical properties of environmental samples in the laboratory. We are especially interested in qualified candidates with experience in complex systems, environmental sensors, processing large datasets, and geochemical analyses. Additional responsibilities will include maintaining detailed scientific records, analyzing experimental data, presenting results within the research group and at national and international conferences, and preparing manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals. The nature of our scientific work is highly multidisciplinary, and projects will be carried out in close collaboration with scientists from a variety of scientific backgrounds, including geochemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, physical chemistry, or a related field.


Additional expectations include:

  • Maintaining a safe work environment in compliance with safety guidelines
  • Promoting a constructive and respectful work environment


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Geosciences, Earth and Environmental Sciences, or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A strong record of independent and productive research, as indicated by conference presentations and/or publications in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a large multidisciplinary team, and should be able to design and execute experiments, perform data analyses, and interpret experimental results.
  • Experience with application of analytical techniques to grand challenges in environmental research.
  • Demonstrated ability to learn and independently operate analytical equipment.
  • Experience conducting field work independently or as part of a team.
  • Experience with environmental sensors that monitor water level, redox potential, salinity, etc.
  • 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


Contact for Position: Dr. Elizabeth Herndon (


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.


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  • 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.


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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.

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