Postdoctoral Research Associate - Process Modelling and Analysis

Date: Feb 1, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12291 


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.


This position seeks to fill a research role in chemical processes and energy systems with an expert in computational modeling and simulation theory and application. Preference is given to candidates with expertise in the modeling and cost and environmental impacts analysis of chemical processes and systems over a wide range of scales. The successful candidate will work closely with experimental teams and perform the modeling and analysis tasks independently. Experience with commercial chemical process simulation software (Aspen Plus, CHEMCAD, etc.) and life cycle and sustainability assessment software (SimaPro or OpenLCA) will all be considered favorably. Direct experience modeling semi-continuous or continuous flow biochemical/chemical/electrochemical reactors and working knowledge of both finite volume and finite element methods will be a positive.


Candidates should have a demonstrated record of technical accomplishment in the field of modeling and simulation and defining and implementing research visions that unify and guide the activities of multi-disciplinary researchers. Experience with validation of models and working with experimentalist is also of interest. The chosen candidate is expected to contribute to major programs in the areas of biomass conversion to fuels and co-products, chemical manufacturing, CO2 capture and utilization, energy storage, critical material separation and other clean energy/chemical processes.


The position is in the Chemical Process Scale-Up Group in the Manufacturing Sciences Division, Energy Science and Technology Directorate  at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The successful candidate will opportunities to collaborate with a diverse range of staff across ORNL. The successful candidate will be expected to interface with collaborating scientists at other national labs, industry, and universities.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Conduct pioneering research in modeling and simulation of complex chemical processes including catalyst systems, and biochemical/thermochemical/electrochemical conversion processes for net zero carbon systems.
  • Contribute to new projects and extended proposals beyond the scope of currently sponsored project(s).
  • Possess excellent communication skills and be able to proactively communicate with other scientists/engineers internally and externally to build the teams.
  • Be responsible for preparing, presenting, and reporting research results and publishing scientific results in key peer-reviewed journals.
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.
  • 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, Mechanical Engineering, or Computer Science with experience in modeling and simulation of applied engineering processes and systems.
  • A record in modeling and simulation research as evidenced through peer-reviewed journal publications, patents, or industry/commercial impact.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience.
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment and interact effectively with a broad range of colleagues.
  • Ability to function well in a dynamic research environment, set priorities to accomplish tasks on time, and adapt to ever-changing needs.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with commercial chemical process simulation software (Aspen Plus, CHEMCAD, etc.) and life cycle and sustainability assessment software (SimaPro or OpenLCA).


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.

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