Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Jobs

Job Information

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Chief Scientist, Materials Scientist in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 311149

Directorate: Physical & Computational Sciences

Division: Physical Sciences


Job Description

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is seeking an individual to provide vision and leadership to strengthen and develop new capabilities in materials science, plan and implement strategies for new facilities and instrumentation, contribute to developing and implementing new initiatives in this area, and build their own world class research effort within this scientific domain. A key role of the successful candidate will be to serve as the lab’s liaison with the Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES), Division of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). The person in this position will create an integrated strategy that leverages capabilities across multiple directorates including Energy and Environment, National Security, and Earth and Biological Systems as well as fostering national and international collaborations. This high visibility position has commensurate levels of responsibility. This individual will take full advantage of new Energy Sciences Capability building currently being constructed and ready for occupation in late 2021.

Currently the Materials program at PNNL consists of activities in the following areas:

  • The science of synthesis

  • The science of complex interfaces

  • Electrical energy storage

  • Atomically precise materials

  • Biomolecular materials

  • Materials for separations

  • Corrosion in extreme environments

  • Effects of radiation on materials structure and properties

  • Solid phase processing for transformative manufacturing

  • Advanced in situ and operando characterization

  • Computational Sciences

The successful candidate is expected to immediately begin leading peer-reviewed fundamental research in an area complementary to the above efforts, drawing from the reservoir of staff performing the above technical work, enhancing ongoing research efforts, and strategically developing and executing a plan to secure support for future research activities, particularly sponsored by BES. The selected scientist must demonstrate a commitment to working with PNNL staff members and engaging those staff members in the broader research enterprise. Senior candidates will be expected to quickly establish themselves as independent principal investigators (PIs) through competitive proposals, and to help mentor junior staff towards proposal development and self-sufficiency.

In the role of PNNL liaison to BES-MSE, will steward PNNL’s BES-MSE portfolio and play a lead role in developing and executing PNNL’s strategy for advancing fundamental materials science research. As steward of the BES-MSE portfolio, responsibilities include: 1) working with PNNL principal Investigators to ensure that BES-MSE sponsored research is directed towards BES-MSE mission priorities, is well executed, and is appropriately reported, 2) communicating regularly with BES-MSE staff and 3) communicating the strategy, scientific focus, and accomplishments to PNNL Leadership, as well as external Advisory Committees and visitors. This activity will involve substantial in-person sponsor interaction.

In developing and executing PNNL’s strategy for advancing fundamental materials science research, responsibilities include: 1) working with PNNL Leadership and staff to define strategic directions that benefit from and enhance the broader strategic objectives of the Laboratory and the Directorates, 2) developing investment vehicles to execute the strategy, including acquisitions of infrastructure and equipment, nurturing of partnerships, workforce development and building scientific foundations through the use of Laboratory Directed Research and Development funds. In addition, the successful candidate will be expected to work with other offices at PNNL to enhance the diversity and recognition of the materials science community and individual materials scientists at PNNL.

This position is responsible for providing vision and guidance to strengthen and develop new capabilities at PNNL and then directly apply those capabilities to resolve the nation’s most critical materials challenges. Major areas of responsibility will include:

  • Leading the development of PNNL’s strategy in materials science.

  • Serve as PNNL’s liaison to DOE, BES-MSE.

  • Providing technical leadership and direction for new research and initiatives.

  • Maintaining a capability development effort to ensure that cutting-edge research tools are available for the research community.

  • Establishing an outreach program to attract external collaborators to the facilities and expertise at PNNL.

  • Leading and contributing to proposals to enhance materials research at PNNL.

  • Providing reports to clients and higher-level managers.

  • Leading and contributing to peer-reviewed materials research efforts and establishing active collaborations with research staff in PCSD and other organizations at PNNL.

  • Serve as a spokesperson for the PNNL strategy in materials science.

  • Participate in national and/or international professional societies, advisory groups and/or external collaborations.

  • Mentoring other senior level Laboratory scientists and engineers and attracting top scientist/engineering talent to PNNL.

Level 5: Conceives, plans, and executes R&D with considerable influence on scientific and technological developments. Displays considerable leadership in defining scientific and technical objectives across programs. Leads in the capture, planning, and technical execution of complex interdisciplinary projects and programs across organizational boundaries with lab level impact, and outside of the laboratory. Captures and enables sufficient funding to support self and project teams. Serves as a role model for quality, safety, and security. Contributes to directorate level or lab level operational improvement activities.

Level 6: Conceives, plans, and realizes lab level R&D strategies and objectives. Demonstrates a high degree of scientific and technical creativity, foresight, and judgment in planning, organizing and guiding complex national and international programs. Defines and builds new business areas across directorates and institutions supporting self and multiple project teams across internal and external organizations. Serves as a role model for quality, safety, and security. Serves as a resource to lab level operational improvement activities

Minimum Qualifications

  • BS/BA with 9 years of experience, MS/MA with 7 years of experience, or PhD with 5 years of experience.

  • Demonstrated ability to set and execute strategy is desirable.

  • Established, visible leader and spokesperson in the materials science community.

  • Demonstrated ability to develop teams with diverse backgrounds working on focused problems.

  • Recognized leadership in materials science or a closely related field as demonstrated through a record of scholarly accomplishment, honors and professional service to the scientific community, and an international reputation in the area of materials science.

  • Demonstrated expertise in the development and application of experimental or computational approaches to understand the fundamentals of materials science, particularly in the areas of quantum materials, the science of complex interfaces, separation science, or data science and machine learning applied to materials discovery and characterization.

  • Proven ability to develop and lead groundbreaking scientific research.

  • Demonstrated success in conceiving and attracting funding for research programs involving multiple principal investigators.

  • Knowledge of government programs, particularly within the Department of Energy, in materials sciences.

  • Experience in managing projects and operating laboratory facilities.

  • Significant line or programmatic leadership experience.

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications

  • BS/BA with 11 years of experience, MS/MA with 9 years of experience, or PhD with 7 years of experience.

  • Ph.D. in physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science or related field.

  • National Lab experience preferred.

  • Experience working with BES-MSE is desirable, particularly as a funded PI or co-PI

Equal Employment Opportunity

Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All BMI staff must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States. BMI is an E-Verify employer. Learn more at

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from participation in certain foreign government talent recruitment programs. If you are offered a position at PNNL and are currently a participant in a foreign government talent recruitment program you will be required to disclose this information before your first day of employment.

Directorate: Physical & Computational Sci's

Job Category: Scientists/Scientific Support

Group: Physical Sciences Division

Opening Date: 2020-08-31

Closing Date: 2020-11-30