Postdoctoral Research Associate - Industrial Energy Efficiency and Decarbonization

Date: Mar 27, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11794 


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 Manufacturing Energy Efficiency Research & Analysis (MEERA) Group, housed within the Manufacturing Science Division (MSD), Energy Science and Technology Directorate (ESTD) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is currently seeking to fill a position for a Postdoctoral Research Associate. The role entails contributing to MEERA group’s mission of disseminating knowledge on energy, carbon, water, and material efficiency in the manufacturing sector and develop, deploy, and promote impactful practices, tools, and technologies. The ideal candidate should have a strong background in mechanical engineering, industrial energy systems, renewable energy, decarbonization, or other related fields. The candidate will play a crucial role in the planning, execution, and optimization of our technical assistance program for energy intensive industries (iron & steel, food, pulp & paper, chemicals, nonferrous metals, and nonmetallic minerals). The primary objective of the energy intensive industries (EIIs) program is to engage with manufacturers from energy-intensive industrial sectors to better understand their specific needs and issues in implementing energy efficiency and decarbonization activities. The candidate will work closely with program allies, subject matter experts and technical trade associations to ensure successful delivery of technical assistance to energy intensive manufacturing participants.


The MEERA Group actively contributes to the efforts of the Department of Energy’s Industrial Efficiency & Decarbonization Office (IEDO) by providing technical assistance. This role supports the IEDO’s vision of driving energy savings and decarbonization that can have broader impact across the energy intensive industries, which leads to cost savings, greater resilience, a strengthened workforce, and increased global competitiveness.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

The Postdoctoral Research Associate will contribute to the efforts on research and analysis of technologies and practices for increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon footprint of the energy intensive sector.

  • Program Design: Support in creating technical assistance activities tailored to the needs of energy intensive industries or target sectors considering factors such as energy and decarbonization assessments, workforce development and technology demonstrations.
  • Resource Development: Assist in developing relevant technical resources to address the unique needs of EIIs. Resources could include guidance documents, white papers, presentation materials and energy and decarbonization tools.
  • Interface with program participants and contribute to technical support activities such as: visiting manufacturing sites, analyzing technologies, assisting EIIs to improve energy management practices, perform energy data benchmarking and analysis studies.   
  • Project Management: Coordinate with program partners, allies and subject matter experts and assist in the execution of technical assistance activities such as assessments, and trainings.
  • Policy Analysis: Evaluate and identify funding opportunities related to energy efficiency and decarbonization projects and provide recommendations to EII program participants.
  • Collaboration: Collaborate with trade associations and national labs and leverage their knowledge base to provide technical assistance to EII program participants.
  • Publication: Prepare research papers, reports, and presentations to disseminate findings in journals, conferences and to stakeholders.
  • Develop monthly program impact reports to share the status and findings of the program with DOE program manager. 
  • 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 energy engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years.
  • Possess an excellent quantitative and analytical background acquired through PhD research, which can be applied to conduct research analyses on applicable energy efficiency and decarbonization technologies for energy intensive sectors.
  • Willingness to travel. Candidate will be expected to travel to EII program participants manufacturing sites to represent DOE during technical assistance activities.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrate a profound understanding of industrial energy efficiency and decarbonization technologies. Previous industry experience in energy intensive sectors or related sector is a plus.
  • Certified Energy Manager (CEM®) or other certifications in the field of energy efficiency.
  • Familiarity with industrial processes, building science, heating and cooling technologies, and mechanical systems and controls.
  • Familiarity with numerical calculation and statistical data analysis techniques.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, demonstrated through weekly presentations to sponsors and others, and in preparing reports, proposals, and journal articles.
  • Robust interpersonal skills for effective team building and leadership, coupled with a strong commitment to scientific integrity.
  • Eagerness to acquire new skills and explore new areas.
  • Proficiency in using Excel for engineering data analysis.
  • 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
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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.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville