Chief Research Officer

Ames, Iowa
Commensurate with qualifications
May 01, 2018
May 31, 2018
Field of specialization
Energy, Engineering, Materials, Physical
Job Type
Full time

Ames Laboratory, a Department of Energy National Laboratory, multi-disciplined national scientific research laboratory operated through a contractual agreement by Iowa State University is seeking nominations and applications for the position of Chief Research Officer. 

The Chief Research Officer (CRO) is responsible for overseeing the scientific divisions, institutes, and programs for Ames Laboratory, located in Ames, Iowa. In this capacity, the CRO, working closely with scientific staff and Laboratory leadership, as well as with DOE leadership, will formulate, evaluate, and develop new initiatives that fall within our mission – to create materials, inspire minds to solve problems, and address global challenges – often emphasizing the cross-disciplinary collaborations with other DOE national laboratories, Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) and other academic institutions, and industry that have become the hallmark of the Laboratory. In conjunction with the Director, Deputy Director, and scientific and operations leadership, the CRO will ensure that scientific programs are appropriately prioritized, budgeted, and scheduled within the overall Ames Laboratory Strategic Plan. As a member of the Executive Council, the CRO will guide the scientific research directorate at Ames Laboratory and provide leadership for physics, chemistry, biology, and materials research.

The CRO represents Ames Laboratory on a national level as a member of the National Laboratory Chief Research Officers (NLCRO) working group. The CRO has regular interactions with DOE leadership regarding past, current, and future research efforts; administrators and scientists at Ames Laboratory and ISU to foster effective research and infrastructure collaborations that advance missions for both organizations; and with other national laboratories to facilitate interactions and collaborations. With effective performance, the Laboratory will maximize and grow its scientific capabilities within the DOE community, with other government funding agencies, and with industry.

Ames Laboratory is a nearly $60 million per year laboratory located on the campus of ISU. The CRO oversees the scientific divisions and programs, which include approximately 115 researchers (includes full-time scientists and Iowa State faculty scientists), 47 Postdoctoral Researchers, 22 support staff, and 237 students.

The CRO:

• Serves as a role model for staff by demonstrating strong leadership skills, sound judgement, transparent communication, and positive relationship-building skills at the executive level and with the scientific and operational staff, as well as equal proficiency in overseeing all aspects of research and innovation.
• Continuously identifies, assesses, and develops opportunities to strengthen the laboratory’s core capabilities, the quality, and impact, of the research conducted, the relevance of its research programs, and its collaborative research relationship with Iowa State University.
• Assists with the creation and overall accomplishment of the Laboratory’s Strategic Plan.
• Communicates Laboratory strategic vision and tactical directions to the divisions, institutes, and program directors, group leaders, and the scientific staff.
• Manages strategic relationships with other leading research institutions, the NLCRO group, and other program directors and managers within the Department of Energy while leading and supporting Ames Laboratory’s major goals and scientific initiatives.
• Ensures the strategic science goals of the Laboratory are achieved and that the assigned Laboratory goals and objectives as measured through the DOE Performance Evaluation and Measurement Plan (PEMP) are realized.
• Maintains a comprehensive working knowledge of the research business plans, strategy, organizational structure, and resources.
• Designates Division/Institute/Program Directors for management of personnel, safety, oversight of space and property, and fiduciary responsibilities within the research programs.
• Ensures a safe work environment through walkthrough inspections of laboratory spaces; implements and conducts work observations; ensures training completion of all research staff; and allocates resources to address safety concerns and to maintain safe work environments.

Required Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. or other doctoral/professional program in physical science or engineering discipline, with a minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible research leadership experience.
  • Demonstrated scientific credentials including experience in scientific and research management and a record of effective management in a major research/university setting.

Preferred Qualifications:

• A verifiable track record of leadership accomplishments as a senior-level leader who has proven understanding of interdisciplinary research and development, laboratory management, and governance and compliance.
• A successful track record of inspiring research, including the coordination and development of an innovative, diverse and inclusive culture to attract, recruit, and retain high performing employees and collaborators.
• An established record working with the Department of Energy Office of Science or Applied Energy Programs, or a similarly funded entity in a senior management role. 
• A demonstrated ability to understand and communicate scientific results from a diverse portfolio of disciplines within the physical sciences.
• Proven experience in developing success-oriented teams with a high level of accountability within all areas of research.
• A demonstrated ability to apply business judgement to technical issues.
• Successful track record of accomplishments in innovation, engineering, and/or science toward the commercialization of research in collaboration with industry. 
• Demonstrated experience with strategic thinking and analysis and research portfolio growth
• Current government security clearance or the ability to obtain a clearance.


Applications must be submitted online at, Posting #80192P.

Nominations should be sent to:

To guarantee consideration, applications must be submitted by July 1, 2018.

The Ames Laboratory respects, appreciates, and encourages diversity.  We especially seek candidates who are interested in contributing to the diversity and excellence of our research environment.

Ames Laboratory/Iowa State University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.  Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran. Inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies may be directed to Office of Equal Opportunity, 3350 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, Ames, Iowa 50011, Tel. 515 294-7612, email