Postdoctoral Research Associate - Machine Learning Assisted SANS Data Analysis Platform

Date: Nov 3, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11797 


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to develop Machine Learning Assisted SANS Data Analysis Platform while focusing on soft materials research.


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.  The Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the High-Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) are world-leading facilities and the scientific center of a diverse, international, and inclusive neutron scattering community.


In this position, you will be part of a multi-disciplinary and multi-institution team developing a Machine Learning (ML) Assisted SANS Data Analysis Platform for the analysis of colloidal interactions, while performing independent research in the area of soft matter science.  In particular, the analysis platform is targeted to interpret SANS data from colloidal systems with various interacting potentials, using MD simulation, gaussian process regression, and other necessary machine learning techniques. You will collaborate with software engineers at ORNL to implement data analysis algorithm in the Galaxy platform, a web-based data processing framework. You will also conduct independent research in the soft matter science using neutron/x-ray scattering techniques. 


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Conduct high-quality research using Machine Learning methods to study polymers or soft materials.
  • Develop a framework to interpret SANS data using Machine Learning approach based on MD simulations and Gaussian Process Regression.
  • Work with software engineers to implement the analysis framework in the Galaxy platform.
  • Assist in the development and preparation of beam time proposals.
  • Participate in an inclusive work environment for a diverse community of users, staff, postdocs, and students.
  • Report and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Present results at international scientific conferences and meetings.
  • 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.
  • This position requires that you successfully complete required training, including radiological training.

Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in physics, applied physics, chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A basic understanding of x-ray or neutron scattering. 
  • Experience with soft materials (colloids or polymers) research is highly desirable.
  • A working knowledge of Python for data reduction and analysis is highly desirable. 
  • A motivated, self-starter that has the ability to work independently, as well as to participate creatively in collaborative teams.
  • A demonstrated ability to communicate research results in peer-reviewed publications.
  • Good interpersonal, communication, and presentation skills.
  • The ability to work within a multi-disciplinary team environment on scientifically challenging problems
  • The ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to changing needs.


Please include a discussion of your research interests and how neutron scattering can support your plan for research during your time at ORNL in your cover letter with your application.


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


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.

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