Postdoctoral Research Associate in AI/ML for algorithm development for self-driving laboratories

Date: Jun 29, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12983 



We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will focus on developing and applying machine learning algorithms relevant to autonomous experimental laboratories. This position resides in the Data NanoAnalytics (DNA) group in the Theory and Computation section, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, Physical Sciences Directorate, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


In this role, you will work as part of an interdisciplinary team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and partner Universities to develop algorithms for human-in-the-loop autonomous experimental workflows. You will also work closely with CNMS staff to implement these algorithms on automated instruments such as scanning probe and/or scanning transmission electron microscopes, and gain experience in setting up and using data and analysis pipelines.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop and apply machine learning algorithms and implement them at experimental facilities in the CNMS to create autonomous and human-in-the-loop workflows that can improve efficiency, incorporate priors derived from simulations/theory, enhance scientific discovery and/or realize new experimental capabilities.
  • Distribute the created codes in documented and modular form, to be used and applied by our partners at other universities and laboratories.
  • 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 degree in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Computer Science, or a related discipline
  • A minimum of 3 years of experience in machine learning applied to problems in the physical, biological, and/or chemical sciences
  • Experience with python programming and a record of code contributions verifiable on an online code repository


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with databases and/or computational workflows
  • Some experience working on autonomous experiments, or self-driving laboratories.
  • 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 up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding.


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You may 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, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Pet Insurance, Disability Benefits, 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.




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