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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Synthetic Organic or Polymer Chemistry

Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Temporary Full-time salaried position.
Closing date
Mar 1, 2024

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Field of specialization
Organic, Polymers
Work Function
Laboratory, Research-Basic
Job Type

Job Details

Requisition Id 12429 


As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory, ORNL has an extraordinary 80-year history of solving the nation’s biggest problems. We have a dedicated and creative staff of over 6,000 people! Our vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) is to cultivate an environment and practices that foster diversity in ideas and in the people across the organization, as well as to ensure ORNL is recognized as a workplace of choice. These elements are critical for enabling the execution of ORNL’s broader mission to accelerate scientific discoveries and their translation into energy, environment, and security solutions for the nation.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Synthetic Physical Organic Chemistry who will focus on organic synthesis of novel monomers and polymers, supramolecular catalysts, and structural characterization of depolymerization products and other relevant small organic molecules. This position resides in the Nanomaterials Chemistry Group in the Separations & Polymer Chemistry Section, Chemical Sciences Division, Physical Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).


As part of our research team, you will be responsible for delivering high impact research results to advance the work on polymer upcycling, cation separation and elucidation of reaction mechanisms. You will be very closely working with specialists in synthesis, separations chemistry, theory, spectroscopy, and materials characterization.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Perform hands-on synthesis and characterization of novel organic compounds to meet project goals, propose/identify new synthetic routes, and improve synthetic strategies
  • Use a variety of methods to characterize the newly synthesized compounds (e.g., NMR, FT-IR, TGA, BET analysis, PXRD, UV-Vis, LC/GC-MS, GPC, rheology)
  • Perform polymerization and depolymerization reactions and product analysis
  • Participate in project planning and execution
  • Present and report research results at the project, group, PI meetings and national conferences
  • Publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements
  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Polymer Chemistry or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • A strong background in synthetic organic chemistry including experience with multi-step organic synthesis and extensive organic compound structural characterization
  • A record of productive and creative research proven by publications in peer-reviewed journals


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A strong background in synthetic organic chemistry including experience with multi-step organic synthesis and organic compound isolation/purification (e.g., column chromatography, crystallization, distillation, sublimation, etc.)
  • A broad theoretical and experimental knowledge of different organic transformations and expertise in structural characterization by 1D and 2D NMR, FTIR, UV-Vis spectroscopy, BET analysis, PXRD, GPC etc.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory  
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
  • View Profile
  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.


Other benefits include: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Life Insurance, Pet Insurance, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.

If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email:


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.


Company info
PO Box 2008
Oak Ridge

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