Research Associate (Hybrid-eligible)

Date: Mar 25, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12747 


As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory, Oak Ridge 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. We are seeking a highly motivated Research Engineer who will support resilience of critical infrastructure system projects at ORNL. This position resides in the Critical Infrastructure Resilience (CIR) Group in the Human Dynamics Section, Geospatial Science and Human Security Division, National Security Sciences Directorate, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


As a Research Engineer, you will contribute to cutting-edge research and development efforts aimed at enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure systems against various threats and disruptions. This position offers a unique opportunity to work on interdisciplinary projects in collaboration with leading experts, tackling challenges related to energy, water, cybersecurity, transportation, and more, with a special emphasis on grid resilience assessments and equity analysis. You will have the opportunity to creatively use interdisciplinary methods from computational data science, machine learning, geographical information sciences, and many other topics to help frame and solve the above problems on a national and global scale. 

In this role, you will work on advancing analytic methods and tools to improve understanding of critical infrastructure resilience, specifically improving access to electrical power for climate resilience and grid security. Your research will help to inform investments in grid resilience and restoration, deliver immediate benefits to our existing emergency response systems, and provide visibility into disparities in access to energy.

The CIR Group is heavily engaged in modeling risk and resilience of critical infrastructures to achieve equitable, reliable and adaptable built environments through data ecosystems creation, data science and integrated complex systems analysis. The group’s vision is to enable a sustainable, safe, and secure critical infrastructure for all.


The National Security Sciences Directorate (NSSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory leads scientific and technological breakthroughs to confront some of the nation’s most difficult security challenges. We develop interdisciplinary applications needed for the security of our nation today and target our vision on how these challenges may manifest themselves in a decade or more. NSSD’s research and development focuses on cybersecurity and cyber physical resiliency, data analytics, geospatial science and technology, nuclear nonproliferation, and high-performance computing for sensitive national security missions.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Lead and contribute to the design, development, and implementation of new models, methods, and algorithms that improve our understanding of critical infrastructure resilience, specifically improving access to electrical power for climate resilience and grid security purposes.
  • Conduct research on grid resilience assessment methodologies, including modeling and simulation of grid operations under stress conditions, identification of vulnerabilities, and development of resilience enhancement strategies.
  • Explore innovative approaches to quantify and mitigate disparities in resilience outcomes across different demographic groups.
  • Investigate the intersection of critical infrastructure resilience and equity, analyzing the differential impacts of infrastructure disruptions on vulnerable communities. Develop frameworks for assessing equity considerations in resilience planning and policymaking, with a focus on ensuring equitable access to reliable services and resources during and after emergencies.
  • Analyze large-scale datasets from diverse sources to extract insights relevant to grid resilience and equity analysis. Apply statistical techniques and machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and trends related to infrastructure vulnerabilities, social vulnerabilities, and their interdependencies.
  • Contribute to and lead team publications in journals, participate in conferences, and engage with other scientists and analysts in the private sector, academia, and US Government communities.

All team members 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:

  • PhD in computational data sciences and engineering, applied mathematics, geography, statistics, computer engineering or equivalent field with 0-2 years of research experience.
  • Experience in quantitative analysis, mathematical modeling, data science and simulation techniques, with experience in social equity analysis.
  •  Experience with one or more programming languages such as Python, R, or MATLAB,  and with relevant tools and frameworks for data analysis and machine learning.
  • Experience with database technologies, particularly to store, analyze, and manipulate spatio-temporal data.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience developing processes for transportation route and mode identification and facility siting, considering natural disaster resiliency, climate change, and environmental justice
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills including peer-reviewed publications, with the ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues from diverse backgrounds and present technical information to various audiences.
  • Proven ability to work independently and as part of a team, with a strong commitment to achieving project goals and delivering high-quality results.
  • Knowledge of infrastructure systems, including energy, transportation, water, and telecommunications, and their interactions with social and economic factors.
  • Publication record demonstrating contributions to peer-reviewed journals and conferences in relevant domains.
  • Familiarity with industry standards and best practices for grid resilience assessments, such as NERC CIP standards, as well as equity frameworks and methodologies.
  • GIS analysis for siting studies, National Environmental Policy Act, transload site identification, mode and route analysis
  • Experience working collaboratively in version control systems for source code management such as Git/GitLab.
  • Knowledge of major challenges in modeling and representing the built environment.
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs.



Special Requirements:

Visa sponsorship is 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.


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