Postdoctoral Research Associate - Platinum Group Metals Recycling Specialist

Date: Nov 19, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11716 


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 Energy Storage and Conversion Manufacturing Group in the Electrification Section of the Energy Science and Technology Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking applicants to advance science and technology in the areas of electrochemical energy conversion including low temperature fuel cells and electrolyzers. The main focus of this Postdoctoral Research Associate position will be development of novel, environmental methods for recycling PGM: mainly Ir, Pt and Ru.


Selection will be based on qualifications, relevant experience, technical skills, and education. The chosen candidate is expected to develop and execute research projects on PGM recycling, and synthesis of novel PGM electrocatalysts using recycled precursors. This position resides in the Department of Energy (DOE) Battery Manufacturing R&D Facility (BMF) at ORNL (Knoxville, TN, USA).


This position is in the Electrification and Energy Infrastructures Division, and research will primarily be conducted at ORNL’s Grid Research, Integration & Deployment Facility (GRID). These research areas are aligned with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) HFTO and other DOE programs.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop and execute research projects on PGM recycling, and synthesis of novel PGM electrocatalysts using recycled precursors.
  • Collaborate with staff across ORNL and will be expected to communicate at conferences and project review meetings and interface with scientists at other national labs, industry, and universities.
  • Research and develop advanced PGM recycling technologies.
  • Carry out works on the synthesis of novel PGM electrocatalysts.
  • Conduct works on the characterization of materials and interfaces.
  • Exploit new opportunities and/or expand existing efforts.
  • Advance the reputation and standing of the group through establishing collaborations, professional society leadership and involvement.
  • Write, develop, and review technical products such as proposals, publications, and artifacts to ensure high quality and consistency with ORNL standards.
  • Ensure safe, collegial, and collaborative workplace.
  • 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, Materials Science, Chemistry, Electrochemistry, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • Candidates should have demonstrated record of technical accomplishments in 1) chemistry of Platinum Group Metals; 2) materials processing, recycling, and manufacturing; and 3) electrocatalysis in application to fuel cells and electrolyzers.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Prior experience with critical materials recycling using metallurgical processes is highly desired.
  • A record of excellence in recycling research and development as evidenced through peer-reviewed journal articles and/or issued patents.
  • 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:


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