Programs and Planning Specialist (Hybrid Eligible)

Date: Apr 2, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12809 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL’s) Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate (BESSD) provides innovative solutions to problems of global significance in energy, environment, and health through collaborative research and advanced technologies. BESSD leads convergence research in biology, ecology, engineering, data discovery, physical sciences, and computing to advance US competitiveness in the global bioeconomy and Earth system sustainability. Our researchers enjoy an open, inclusive, and innovative workplace where they collaborate to advance renewable energy solutions, improve Earth system models, and push the frontiers of systems and synthetic biology. Focus areas include understanding how genes influence ecosystem-level processes; learning more about how biodiversity shapes the world around us; developing novel, secure biodesign tools and test beds for enzyme engineering; applying the world’s fastest supercomputers to transform biological and environmental data into knowledge; advancing signature technologies for dynamic characterization of complex biological and environmental systems; and applying emerging capabilities that promise to transform how science is done through automated, data-rich, and interconnected systems.


BESSD is seeking a Programs and Planning Specialist to work closely with the directorate’s chief operating officer, associate laboratory director, communications coordinator, division directors, program managers, and researchers, to provide mission support services in proposal preparation, planning, and submission. This position will also assist in BESSD business activities including the preparation of the annual Lab Plan, Lab Agenda, BESSD Business Plan, and quarterly science and technology reporting. The candidate will work with directorate leadership to create and submit staff nomination packages for key awards. The ideal candidate will be a team player who can achieve work objectives independently, accurately, and successfully, requiring minimal follow-up.  Familiarity with terminology of the technical community and research fields will allow the candidate to be intuitive and proactive in capturing ideas. The ideal candidate should be highly organized, detail oriented, and have experience and background in proposal preparation and in managing the production of various types of documents, reports, and libraries. Strong time management and communication skills are also essential attributes for this position.


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

The successful candidate will collaborate closely with the BESSD leadership team to deliver mission support services, focusing on proposal preparation, planning, reporting, and awards nominations. The role includes, but is not limited to, the following responsibilities:


  • Independently completes operational assignments and projects as assigned by the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Associate Laboratory Director (ALD).
  • Collaborates with the directorate and matrixed operational team to address data requests and analyses, handles special projects and staff award nominations, and compiles summary reports in consultation with the COO and ALD.
  • Formulates, monitors, and reports metrics for operational efficiency and drives effective operational initiatives, as requested.
  • Supports the ALD, Division Directors, and COO in developing strategic and operational plans, identifying objectives, and tracking key results for inclusion in the following:
    • Laboratory Agenda
    • Laboratory Annual Report
    • Laboratory Performance Evaluations Management Plan (PEMP)
    • Annual Laboratory Notable Outcomes
    • Lab-Level Honors and Awards
  • Works with Principal Investigators to ensure compliant proposals are submitted on time using established and recognized proposal methods; manages R&D proposal process across BESSD, including mentoring administrative staff in proposal management and preparation.
  • Assists with and develops content for the ORNL/BESSD business activities, including the BESSD Business Plan, Performance Evaluation and Measurement Plan (PEMP) reports and presentations, Lab Plan, and the ORNL Office of Science Annual Report.
  • Develops materials for the BESSD Science Advisory Committee meetings, as needed.
  • Contributes to the development and tracking of metrics and key performance indicators for BESSD.
  •  At minimum, updates internal website content for various operational topical areas the candidate is responsible for, as needed.
  • Handles other ad-hoc/special requests from BESSD Leadership.
  • 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:

  • BS degree in business-related, science, engineering, or related field.
  • At least three to five years of experience producing science-related products such as reports or proposals or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Specialized skills, knowledge, and expertise in proposal management to help principle investigators deliver compliant and winning technical proposals.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Previous experience at a scientific organization, national laboratory, or other research institution.
  • Experience creating Power BI and Sharepoint content.
  • Experience updating webpage content and creating PowerPoint presentations.
  • Experience in navigating the proposal process and familiarity with DOE requirements.
  • Ability to work with a professional scientific and engineering staff on complex proposals and reports.
  • Familiarity with enterprise business systems, including SAP, Ariba and others.
  • A background of working with large organizations or complex projects that require planning, communications, reporting, and assessment, with proven capabilities in each of these areas, is required.
  • Self-motivated and able to work with minimal oversight.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including ability to summarize science/technology capabilities and accomplishments in writing.
  • Understanding of data management tools to monitor and analyze key performance data, and other metrics to assess and continuously improve operations and research.
  • Ability to follow policies and procedures, problem solve, troubleshoot, and research solutions.
  • Proficient in standard office software applications such as Microsoft Office (particularly Word, Excel, Forms, PowerPoint) and Adobe Acrobat.
  • Experience and demonstrated skills in managing priorities and delivering results in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, and in a self-directed fashion.
  • Demonstrated skills in customer service and multi-tasking.
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs.


Visa Sponsorship:

Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.


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 the following: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Contributory Pension Plan, Life 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.

If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email: or call 1.866.963.9545.


For Hybrid eligible positions:

In addition, we offer a flexible work environment that supports both the organization and the employee. A hybrid/onsite working arrangement may be available with this position.







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