Section Head, Nuclear Analytical Chemistry

Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Competitive Salary + Benefits
Jul 20, 2020
Sep 18, 2020
Job Type
Full time


We are seeking a Technical Section Head for Nuclear Analytical Chemistry in the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD). CSD performs discovery and use inspired research to understand, predict, and control the physical processes and chemical transformations, relevant to energy technologies, over a broad range of length and time scales.  


The focus of the Nuclear Analytical Chemistry section within CSD is to develop, advance, and apply analytical methodologies for elemental and isotopic characterizations in environmental and nuclear matrices to support ORNL and DOE mission.  The section possesses unique expertise in analytical chemistry of lanthanide and actinide elements in a wide variety of sample matrices, as well as for the preparation and separations required for to understand the analytical chemistry.


The section includes the following groups:

  1. Chemical and Isotopic Mass Spectrometry — Develops and applies ultra-trace analytical measurements to address national and international nuclear safeguards, security, nonproliferation, verification, forensics missions, and stable and radioisotope production efforts.
  2. Radioactive Materials Analytical Laboratory — Advances and applies radiochemical and mass spectrometry protocols for detailed characterizations of environmental and nuclear matrices within the nuclear fuels cycle and for production of anthropogenic and medical isotopes.
  3. Transuranium Analytical Laboratory — Advances and applies radiochemical and mass spectrometry protocols for detailed characterizations of high-level nuclear matrices within the nuclear fuels cycle and for production of heavy isotopes in support of ORNL mission.



The Technical Section Head will provide leadership to a thematic area of technical professional expertise for a variety of projects, programs or operations that integrates several aligned technical groups consistent with ORNL’s aspiration to be the world’s premier R&D institution and ORNL’s science culture.


The Technical Section Head works closely with the Division Director and section Group Leaders to establish and implement the technology directions or operational plans for the section; support the Group Leaders to ensure their success and the success of the groups as world-recognized leaders in their fields; ensure that staff members understand project/program directions and opportunities; develop and implement consistent processes for the peer-review of technical products 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



Technical Professionals who are responsible for planning and leading major technical projects, operations or functions to solve challenges for science and engineering. Their work directly impacts the present and future of the laboratory in significant ways. 



  • Work closely with the Division Director and Group Leaders within the section to develop a vision and implement a strategy to pursue world-leading operations and/or 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 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 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 (e.g., engagement in professional 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.
  • Ensure that staff manage their projects effectively to deliver results on scope, schedule, and budget while meeting technical and business expectations. 
  • Effectively communicate the importance of protecting proprietary or sensitive information and complying with ORNL security and 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 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



  • Implement a strategy to pursue world-leading technology directions for the section.
  • Hold staff accountable for performance
  • Act to ensure safe and effective operations
  • Hire staff group leaders and staff as appropriate
  • Certify the technical quality of products and services


Basic Qualifications:

  • Requires a Ph.D. with a minimum of 7 years relevant experience, a M.S. with a minimum of 10 years relevant experience, a B.S. with 12 years relevant experience or significant relevant experience.
  • Qualified candidates should have demonstrated experience in leading technical teams


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in leading teams of cross-disciplinary researchers to produce important analytical measurements of  lanthanide and actinide elements.



Special Requirements: This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse (WSAP) testing designated position. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.