Scientific Associate

Date: Feb 12, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12499 


The Neutron Scattering Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking an entry level Scientific Associate to support the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) instruments in the Neutron Scattering User Program.  With two of the world's most powerful research neutron sources (SNS and the High Flux Isotope Reactor), ORNL has become the world's foremost center for neutron science. These user facilities are centers of scientific excellence that internationally attract more than 2,000 researchers each year to come and work with ORNL to solve challenging problems that are vital to the mission of the Department of Energy. To learn more about Neutron Sciences at ORNL go to:


Scientific Associates are members of the Science Support Group. The Science Support Group’s mission is to positively impact and contribute to the organization through reliable, efficient, and ever-evolving services, facilitating the safe delivery of world-class neutron scattering science. In this role, you will establish and maintain robust and reliable operations of neutron scattering instruments at a facility that operates 24/7 during periods of neutron production. Scientific Associates must be cognizant of operational parameters and equipment while also providing front line operational support to the scientific programs conducted on those instruments. You will coordinate with beam line staff to develop and maintain beam line operations by optimizing operations procedures, protocols, documentation, and support a safety-minded operations culture among instrument team members.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Provide technical oversight and interaction with complex technical equipment and systems associated with neutron instruments to include vacuum systems, neutron choppers, neutron detectors, sample environment equipment, and data acquisition and visualization systems.
  • Coordinate user experiments including scheduling, training users in the operation of the instrument, and communicating all information and requirements necessary for a safe and successful experiment.
  • Maintain and manage current inventory of all samples associated with experiments performed on the assigned instrument in accordance with policy. Some samples will be irradiated, and this work may be performed in radiological areas.
  • Work with the sample environment group to schedule equipment required for individual experiments. Be fully trained on such equipment to provide normal operations support during an experiment. Request corrective maintenance as necessary and provide feedback on equipment performance.
  • Coordinate the installation and integration of instrument upgrades needed to improve operations or to expand capabilities.
  • Maintain accurate and relevant documentation of the instrument’s technical systems, including hardware configuration, practices, and processes.
  • Maintains effective communications with all SNS collaborators and users, including support groups from multiple divisions and instrument scientific staff to ensure safe, responsive, and high-quality instrument operations.
  • As a member of the ORNL scientific community, you will be expected to commit to ORNL's Research Code of Conduct. Our full code of conduct, and a statement by the Lab Director's office can be found here:
  • 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 encouraging a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Qualifications Required:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a science or engineering field. 


Qualifications Desired:

  • Experience providing direct support for technically sophisticated systems.
  • A postgraduate degree in science or engineering.
  • Hands-on experience with integration of relevant systems (laboratory safety, mechanical systems, vacuum systems, temperature controls, motion controls, etc.).
  • 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 on time and adapt to evolving needs.


Special Requirements:

  • Periods of moderate overtime will be required. You will need to be willing to work outside the normal work schedule, including occasional weekends, with little or no notice.
  • This role may include limited travel opportunities.


Physical Requirements: Work involves various physical requirements and working conditions. As such, a pre-hire physical will be required after offer.


Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.


Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain hardworking 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, and Employee Discounts. Relocation Assistance is available for certain positions.


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.


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