Share this Job

Senior Economist, Bioresource Science & Engineering Group

Date: Jun 10, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 5837 


The Biodiversity and Sustainable Systems Section within the Environmental Sciences Division,  at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL),, is seeking an economist to study the economic and spatial availability of biomass resources and strategies to use these resources in expanding the U.S. bioeconomy and achieve carbon drawdown goals. You will join a highly qualified team of economists, engineers, and natural scientists in the Bioresources Science and Engineering Group (BSE) who develop strategies to deliver agricultural and forest resources to produce fuels, power/heat, and biomaterials. Our goal is to develop and apply quantitative tools to advance our understanding of how bioresources can be sustainably and reliably produced, delivered, and utilized to enable expansion of the US bioeconomy while also preserving ecosystem services. This work is supported by multiple sponsors including the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office and the Center for Bioenergy Innovation.


ESD is an interdisciplinary research and development organization with more than 60 years of achievement in local, regional, national, and international environmental research. Our vision is to expand scientific knowledge and develop innovative strategies and technologies that will strengthen the nation’s leadership in creating solutions to help sustain the Earth’s natural resources. Our scientists conduct research, develop technology, and perform analyses to understand and assess responses of environmental systems at the environment-human interface and the consequences of alternative energy and environmental strategies.


The BSS Section explores how genes, organisms, populations, and communities influence, and are influenced by, the management, health, and sustainability of ecological systems. Researchers develop and implement tools and methods to quantify and mitigate threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services. They advance the state of water resources science and engineering through multidisciplinary research focused on data analytics, model simulation, engineering design, decision support and visualization. Scientists are developing advanced simulations to understand human health, economic, and environmental protection dimensions of existing and emerging sustainable energy alternatives. They are developing solutions that use renewable, low-carbon feedstock sources to expand the US bioeconomy while preserving ecosystem services.


Major Duties/Responsibilities

  • Lead research in developing and applying mathematical models to assess the economic availability of agricultural resources as feedstocks for bioenergy and bioproducts. This work involves collaboration with multidisciplinary scientists and engineers at ORNL and other national laboratories to understand the range of uses for biomass and unique requirements of each.
  • Develop quantitative approaches to account for impacts of agricultural practices and environmental conditions on feedstock quality and performance for various conversion processes and products in assess biomass value
  • Working with environmental scientists, develop innovative approaches to incorporate measures of sustainability and ecosystem services in assessments of biomass availability, including the economic impacts of carbon accounting on biomass production and use scenarios.
  • Leverage ORNL’s staff and capabilities in high-performance computing and data visualization to advance group capabilities in biomass supply analytics to quantify, visualize, and communicate the economic accessibility of biomass resources.
  • Document research in conference presentations and journals.  
  • Develop internal and external collaborations and attract external funding


Qualifications Required

  • Ph.D. degree in agricultural economics or related discipline and at least 6 years of relevant research experience beyond the PhD
  • Background in economic modeling of US agricultural production and supply systems is required along with experience in spatial analysis, data visualization, statistics, and data management. Experience with partial-equilibrium linear programming and carbon accounting in agricultural systems is preferred.
  • Ability to proactively develop new scientific concepts to address nationally relevant issues and develop inter-disciplinary teams to address those needs
  • Experience and success in writing proposals to multiple federal agencies.
  • Willingness to participate creatively in a variety of collaborative, dynamic team environments
  • Ability to both lead teams and to also support the leadership of other staff in some teaming arrangements.
  • Motivated and safety conscious.
  • Ability to set priorities, multi-task and adapt to ever changing needs.
  • An excellent record of productive and creative research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate in English to an international scientific audience


At a minimum, we request that applicants include an updated CV and list of references as part of the application packet. 



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