This job has expired

Research Operations Director – Materials, Chemical, and Computational Science

National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)
Golden, Colorado
Job Profile: Center Director I / Annual Salary Range: $156,600 - $281,900
Closing date
Sep 15, 2022

View more

You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

Working at NREL

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado is the nation's primary laboratory for research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

From day one at NREL, you’ll connect with coworkers driven by the same mission to save the planet. By joining an organization that values a supportive, inclusive, and flexible work environment, you’ll have the opportunity to engage through our eight employee resource groups, numerous employee-driven clubs, and learning and professional development classes.

NREL supports inclusive, diverse, and unbiased hiring practices that promote creativity and innovation. By collaborating with organizations that focus on diverse talent pools, reaching out to underrepresented demographics, and providing an inclusive application and interview process, our Talent Acquisition team aims to hear all voices equally. We strive to attract a highly diverse workforce and create a culture where every employee feels welcomed and respected and they can be their authentic selves.

Our planet needs us! Learn about NREL’s critical objectives, and see how NREL is focused on saving the planet.

Note: Research suggests that potential job seekers may self-select out of opportunities if they don't meet 100% of the job requirements. We encourage anyone who is interested in this opportunity to apply. We seek dedicated people who believe they have the skills and ambition to succeed at NREL to apply for this role.

Job Description

NREL is seeking a Center Director to provide leadership, technical direction, strategic guidance, planning, and overall management for the Research Operations Center within the Materials, Chemical, and Computational Science (MCCS) Directorate ( The MCCS Research Operations Director serves as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the MCCS Directorate, reports directly to the MCCS associate laboratory director, and is a key member of the MCCS Leadership Team.

The primary responsibility for this position is to ensure safe, efficient, secure, and productive operations of all MCCS research laboratories and facilities. Working collaboratively with NREL Laboratory operations as well as MCCS leadership and staff, the MCCS Research Operations Center Director will be responsible for all the directorate’s R&D operations, including integrated safety management, maintenance of the safety envelope for all MCCS buildings, work planning and control, infrastructure and space planning, facility and laboratory upgrades, capital equipment and fiscal management, and the design and development of new laboratories. The MCCS Research Operations Center Director is also responsible for instilling a safety culture in a productive R&D environment as well as providing leadership, management, and professional development for all staff in the MCCS Research Operations Center. 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a leader in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) effort to secure an energy future that is both environmentally and economically sustainable. With locations in Golden, CO, Boulder, CO, Fairbanks, AK, and Washington, D.C., NREL is the primary laboratory for research, development, and deployment of renewable energy technologies in the United States. The NREL mission is to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and practices, advance related science and engineering, and transfer knowledge and innovation to address the nation’s energy and environmental goals. NREL aspires to be a world-class leader in workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion by creating and maintaining a culture of respect, caring, and belonging.

The MCCS Directorate is comprised of three R&D Centers in addition to the Research Operations Center: Computational Science, Materials Science and Chemistry and Nanoscience.  It carries out fundamental and applied experimental and computational research in renewable energy and energy efficiency with a portfolio that spans high performance computing, simulation and modeling; photovoltaics and solar energy conversion; solar fuels; hydrogen production, storage and utilization; fundamental materials science and chemistry; materials discovery, synthesis and development; advanced characterization, spectroscopy, microscopy and imaging; energy storage; reliability and durability. 


  • Responsible for operations, management, and oversight of the facilities within the directorate.
  • In collaboration with the associate laboratory director, center directors, researchers, business partners, assists with laboratory annual strategic planning and execution for operational support of research, programmatic, and business development goals.
  • Creates a collaborative environment to advance short- and long-range operational goals.
  • Leads planning for capital equipment, infrastructure and space, design and development of new laboratories.
  • Project management of maintenance and facility expansion projects.
  • Maintains safe and environmentally responsible operations across the directorate.
  • Actively participates in the Laboratory Research Operations Council, the Research Operations Director Council, and the Battelle Community of Practice Council to support the development and implementation of laboratory-wide operational policies, procedures, and practices.
  • Provides creative solutions to balance a diverse group of stakeholder needs, enabling compliance, safety, and research productivity.
  • Oversees capability development and stewardship of staff and associated facilities and equipment.
  • Advances diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Specific research operations responsibilities include (but are not limited to):
    • Research and operations infrastructure development, capability readiness, laboratory utilization and readiness, and the facility safety envelope and focus.
    • Serving as the integration point for maintenance; engineering; projects; environment, safety, health, and quality (ESH&Q); and other resources required to best support the research mission and maintain the facility.
    • Daily operations oversight in collaboration with the center directors.
    • Working across the specific needs of the directorate to ensure that management reporting, safety, information flow, and business processes are on track for success.
    • Supporting line management in understanding laboratory safety baselines, risk management, and configuration management.
    • Creating and maintaining a trusting and collaborative environment between research staff; research operations managers; environment, safety, and health (ES&H) staff; and site operations facility managers.
    • Supporting management and optimization of laboratory space utilization.
    • Coordinating capital equipment and facility modification funding requests.

NREL center directors oversee a broad range of activities with the support of a world-class management team and technical experts. While the list of responsibilities and skills for this position is broad, we encourage all qualified candidates to apply, including those who may not meet 100 percent of the requirements.

Basic Qualifications

• B.S. or advanced degree in chemistry, engineering, mathematics, science, or a related field, and a minimum of six (6) years of related experience in management and operational oversight of research and development laboratories/facilities in an industry, academic, or national laboratory environment.
• Strong operational/technical experience in a research and development organization with progressive experience in operational and/or technical personnel management.
• Strong team building, collaboration, leadership, planning, execution, and organizational skills.
• Comprehensive experience in establishing an independent maturity-level safety culture that demonstrates skillful rigor in work planning and control, change management, risk management, integrated safety management, safety audits, quality management, and related efforts.
• Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively in providing creative solutions to balance a diverse group of stakeholder needs, enabling compliance, safety, and research productivity.
• Ability to solve a variety of multidimensional problems in the absence of guidelines or precedents.
• Demonstrated dexterity in overseeing multiple projects simultaneously, and an ability to maintain strong decision-making and complex problem-solving skills in a changing environment.
• Considerable skill in co-designing, interpreting, articulating, and implementing organizational policies and procedures.
• Models and embeds NREL values.
• Builds effective teams, creates strong morale, and shares wins and successes.
• Effectively leads and directs personnel with diverse skills, work styles, and values, both directly and through subordinate management.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills
• Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Additional Required Qualifications

  • Record of progressively more complex assignments and applications, including management or technical leadership experience in an R&D environment.
  • Demonstrated success in supporting research operations for a complex R&D organization with interorganizational and industry-driven partnerships.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage, empower, and motivate technical staff.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and manage budgets and people.
  • Strong interpersonal, communication, organizational, and presentation skills, including conveying hard truths in an empathetic way.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Significant technical expertise in technologies of interest to the directorate.
  • Knowledge of DOE and other government programs, in particular the Office of Science (SC) and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
  • Working knowledge of science and technologies for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Knowledge of laboratory operations and DOE policies and procedures.

Comprehensive experience in establishing an independent maturity level safety culture that demonstrates skillful rigor in work planning and control, change management, risk management, integrated safety management, safety audits, quality management, QRA, FMEA, safety checklists, incident response reviews, after action reviews, electrical safety, learning optimization, waste management, handling and storage, and related efforts.

You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert