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Section Head, Biocomputing and Information

Date: Sep 12, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 3721 



We are seeking a Section Head in the area of Biocomputing and Information within the Biological Sciences Division of the Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate. Selection will be based on qualifications, relevant experience, skills, and education. The Biosciences Division (BSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is focused on advancing science and technology to better understand complex biological systems and their relationship with the environment. The division has expertise and special facilities in genomics, computational biology, microbiology, microbial ecology, biophysics and structural biology, and plant sciences. 



The R&D Section Head will provide Research and Development (R&D) leadership in Biocomputing and Information that integrates several thematically aligned R&D groups consistent with ORNL’s aspiration to be the world’s premier R&D institution and ORNL’s science culture.


The R&D Section Head works closely with the Division Director and section Group Leaders to establish and implement the science and technology directions for the section; support the Group Leaders to ensure their success and the success of the R&D groups as world-recognized leaders in Biocomputing and Information; ensure that staff members understand business opportunities; identify links to current and future funding opportunities and R&D programs; develop and implement consistent processes for the peer-review of proposals consistent with lab standards; model proper Environment, Safety, Security, Health, and Quality practices; and ensure a diverse and inclusive work environment where every employee feels safe, heard and appreciated—a workplace that sets an example for the broader community



We seek Scientists/engineers/analysts who have significantly advanced knowledge/technology in their respective field. They will initiate, lead and deliver R&D programs and initiatives on an ongoing basis.   


Biocomputing and Information

Advance frontiers in computational methods to analyze chemical, physical, and biological data and arrive at new predictions and discoveries


1.     Computational and Predictive Biology ­–– Develop and apply the tools of data science, predictive modeling and high-performance computing to transform biological data into knowledge

2.     Molecular Biophysics –– Apply scalable computing and data science to characterize the structure, function and dynamics of complex biomolecular systems

3.     Biological and Environmental Research Information System –– Develop communication strategies and informational materials about the fundamental research emanating from DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 



·       Work closely with the Division Director and Group Leaders within the section to develop a vision and implement a strategy to pursue world-leading science and technology directions for the section. Demonstrate cross-functional team leadership.

·       Support Division Director in the operations of the division and represent Director when Director is not available.

·       Work with section Group Leaders to establish, communicate, and measure critical metrics for success and impact. Benchmark against the best in the world.

·       Actively contribute to shaping the division’s, directorate’s, and laboratory’s research plans and investments.

·       Build strong teams by collaborating across ORNL and securing external expertise when needed. Leverage ORNL facilities and resources when developing new projects.

·       Work with the Group Leaders and the Division Director to assess and calibrate individual staff performance across the section.  Evaluate progress regularly, providing feedback and addressing performance issues in a timely manner.

·       Develop and implement Succession Planning with input from Group Leaders for all critical positions in the section to ensure future success.

·       Ensure groups are recruiting and hiring from a diverse pool of top candidates who are committed to world-class research and aspire to be the best in their field.  Approve job offers.

·       Drive staff promotions and development.

·       Address in a timely manner all concerns expressed by staff and any disciplinary actions.

·       Lead by example, using the principles in ORNL’s “Research Code of Conduct” as a guide for proposing, performing, and communicating research and in dealing with others.

·       Employ best practices, such as holding regular meetings, being visible in the workplace, monitoring budgets, acknowledging sponsors, and adhering to ORNL business systems requirements regarding staff requests for foreign travel and submission of quality proposals.

·       Coach and mentor staff regarding Battelle’s “Safe Conduct of Research” principles and ensure all work is carried out safely, securely, and in compliance with ORNL policies, standards, and procedures.

·       Exemplify a commitment to “One ORNL” by modeling lab expectations for excellence in research, operations, and community engagement, and by working cooperatively to leverage capabilities across the lab.



·       Serve as direct supervisor for section Group Leaders.

·       Counsel/consult/mentor staff and transfer knowledge of specialized field(s) to a variety of staff, including senior staff. 

·       Connect staff to your network.  Assist Group Leaders (and R&D staff when appropriate) in setting long-term career goals.  Identify additional mentors as appropriate and engage senior staff to act in this capacity.   

·       Be open and transparent in communicating information to your groups and communicate staff achievements and changes to stakeholders in a timely manner.

·       Work with Group Leaders to ensure staff are participating actively in professional service (engagement in scientific societies, workshop and conference organization, peer review, advisory board membership, etc.).

·       Advocate for and support internal and external recognition of staff achievements.  Ensure the Section’s external professional presence is strong.

·       Communicate funding/proposal opportunities to staff and support proposal development as appropriate (mentoring, proposal reviews, budget preparation, etc.).

·       Ensure that staff manage their research projects effectively to deliver results on scope, schedule, and budget while meeting scientific, technical, and business expectations. 

·       Effectively communicate the importance of protecting proprietary or sensitive information and complying with ORNL cybersecurity policies and guidelines.

·       Recognize and support the contributions and responsibilities of Group Leaders and Laboratory Space Managers to lab safety.



·       To section staff, for the quality and safety of their work environment and opportunity for professional growth.

·       To organization managers, for world-leading science and technology directions, safe effective, and compliant operations, ownership of assigned staff, facilities, and equipment, and the quality of products and services.

·       To customer, for the quality of products and service



·       Develop a vision and implement a strategy to pursue world-leading science and technology directions for the section.

·       Hold group leaders accountable for performance

·       Act to ensure safe and effective operations

·       Hire group leaders


Basic Qualifications:

·       Requires a Ph.D. with a minimum of 12 years relevant experience or a M.S. with a minimum of 16 years experience or a B.S. with 20 years of experience.

·       Qualified candidates should have demonstrated experience in leading R&D teams


Preferred Qualifications:

·       Ph.D. in a relevant field

·       Experience managing research projects dealing with computational and engineering technologies at the largest scales of computing and data and/or in collaboration with other technical domains.

·       Experience writing successful R&D proposals to multiple government agencies.

·       Demonstrated ability to effectively interact with senior levels of client management and others involved in technical endeavors.

·       Demonstrated ability to write research plans, technical reports to a sponsor, and proposals and to develop and execute on a vision for future research relevant to modeling and simulation. 

·       A successful record of developing research partnerships and collaborative relationships with universities, industry, and research laboratories.

·       Excellent interpersonal skills, the ability to work independently, outstanding written and oral communication skills, and good organizational skills.


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.

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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.

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