Scientific Associate

Date: Aug 31, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11274 


We are seeking a Scientific Associate who will focus on operational support of the neutron scattering program at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), providing direction to scientific staff, visiting researchers (users), technical support groups and craft, and serving as the space manager. You will also serve as the primary operations contact for one or more neutron scattering instruments, performing work related to instrument operations, maintenance, reliability, upgrades, and experiment planning, preparation, and execution. This involves instrument operation, calibration, and data acquisition, responding to emergent situations (occasionally after normal business hours or on weekends) and providing technical guidance and expertise about the neutron instrument itself.

This position resides in the HFIR Science Support Group in the HFIR Beamline Operations Section, Neutron Scattering Division, Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).    


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Analyze and develop solutions for successful integration and execution of novel experiments and equipment with the instrument.
  • Guide craft and technical staff in repair, maintenance, and upgrade activities associated with the instrument and related equipment.
  • Work with safety personnel to evaluate and review hazards associated with experiments and other work in instrument areas and generate and enforce appropriate work control and documentation as necessary.
  • Contribute as an instrument team member to upgrade design team efforts.
  • Provide guidance for day-to-day instrument and facility work and upgrade activities which may include managing project schedules, scope, and coordination of resources.
  • Support all phases of the experiment process: scheduling experiments, ensuring proposals have required science/safety/equipment approvals, completing documentation needed, and training users on the safe operation of the instrument.
  • Safe and secure management of user-supplied, potentially hazardous, samples and equipment through the lifetime of a user experiment.
  • Test and prepare instrument for each operating cycle and maintenance period.
  • Develop and maintain instrument documentation along with maintaining inventory of instrument consumables and critical spares.
  • Opportunities to learn and become involved with mechanical stress and strain testing, integration and operation of remote manipulation and handling systems i.e., robot arms!
  • This role may include limited travel opportunities.
  • 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 bachelor’s degree in chemistry, physics, engineering, or related field.
  • Digital literacy, including proficiency in MS Office applications.
  • Familiarity with troubleshooting, diagnosing, and debugging technical equipment and systems.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A master’s degree in a relevant field.
  • Ability to work with autonomy, respond to emergency situations, and apply good judgment.
  • Direct experience working with neutron scattering instruments, related equipment, and software, particularly at HFIR or SNS.
  • Experience planning, integrating, and supporting novel technical equipment setups.
  • Experience working within a DOE-regulated environment.
  • Experience creating, reading, and interpreting mechanical design drawings.
  • Experience with computer-aided design software such as SolidWorks or Creo.
  • 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 constantly evolving needs.


Special Requirements:

Periods of moderate overtime will be required. Must be willing to work outside the normal work schedule, including occasional weekends, with little or no notice.


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.


About Neutron Sciences Directorate:

The Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) operates the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), the United States’ highest flux reactor-based neutron source, and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), the world’s most intense pulsed accelerator-based neutron source.  Together these facilities operate 30 instruments for neutron scattering research, each year carrying out in excess of 1,000 experiments in the physical, chemical, materials, biological and medical sciences for more than 3,000 visiting scientists.  HFIR also provides unique facilities for isotope production and neutron irradiation.  To learn more about Neutron Sciences at ORNL go to


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, 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