Research Associate in Mechanical Engineering

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

United States

Research Associate in Mechanical Engineering

Date: Jun 16, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9472 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Manufacturing Energy Efficiency Research & Analysis (MEERA) Group in the Manufacturing Science Division (MSD), Energy Science and Technology Directorate (ESTD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The Postdoctoral Research Associate will work in the areas of environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) and technoeconomic optimization in areas such as water-energy nexus, water-food-energy-land nexus, water efficiency and decarbonization in water and wastewater sector, and water use in industrial sector. MEERA Group supports Department of Energy’s Strategic Analysis Team that conducts independent, objective, and credible research analysis to inform decision-making. To gain insights on manufacturing supply chains, the team conducts techno-economics, value chain, trade, patent, and global manufacturing competitiveness analysis relevant to advanced manufacturing technologies. The team builds and applies analysis tools and analytics to draw insights on the manufacturing sector’s impact on energy, water, carbon, and materials productivity throughout the U.S. economy and to identify opportunities for improvement. Through MSD’s Energy and Industrial Decarbonization Section, MEERA Group develops a diverse portfolio of industrial energy and water efficiency tools and resources which are delivered to the manufacturing sector through various technical assistance and training events worldwide. 


The successful Postdoctoral Research Associate will support MEERA Group’s strategic analysis and modeling research activities of water-energy nexus for various DOE program offices. Last few years, DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) has been conducting analysis on water-energy nexus and water-food-energy nexus. DOE is also interested in energy efficiency and decarbonization of water and wastewater sector. The successful candidate will work independently and with senior technical staff toward collecting water and energy use data in manufacturing and water & wastewater treatment sectors to evaluate the life cycle economic, energy, and environmental impacts of advanced water efficiency technologies. The candidate will be responsible for hydrologic modeling, statistical analysis of datasets, data visualization, presentation to a variety of audiences, and publication of peer-reviewed papers.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in an Engineering field (Mechanical/Industrial Engineering/Environmental/Hydrology/Civil/Chemical Engineering), completed within the last 5 years.
  • Excellent quantitative and analytical PhD research background which can be applied to conduct research analysis on water resources and environmental science, especially water management, data analytics, advanced water efficiency technologies, impact of water on manufacturing and vice versa, and natural resource management.
  • Conduct life cycle assessment, techno-economic analysis, interpret hydrologic data, statistical analysis of datasets, spatial data visualization, presentation to a variety of audiences, and publication of peer-reviewed papers.
  • Possess strong analytical capabilities with an academic experience in life cycle energy and cost assessments for conducting water efficiency and decarbonization technology assessments.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills to make weekly presentations to sponsors and others and to prepare reports, proposals, and publications/journal articles.
  • Ability to travel.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge in hydrologic & hydraulic analysis, statistical processing, data management, spatial analysis, and visualization.
  • Proficiency in the use of industry standard modeling and simulation tools, such as spreadsheet-based process cost modeling, input/output modeling, and commercially available life cycle analysis tools such as SimaPro, openLCA, and GREET.
  • 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


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.


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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.


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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.

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