Postdoctoral Research Associate – Water Resource Science and Engineering

Oak Ridge National Laboratory


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. The Biodiversity and Sustainable Systems Section within the Environmental Sciences Division ( at ORNL is seeking to hire two Post-doctoral Research Associates with the skills and creativity to apply water resources engineering knowledge towards the assessment and advancement of innovative water power and engineering development.

We are interested in qualified candidates who can bring unique skills in one or more of the following fields: hydropwer and/or hydrokinetic energy, hydrodynamics modeling an experiment, hydrologic and hydraulics simulation, geospaital data analysis, hydroclimate impact assessment, and high-performance computing. A successful candidate will have strong interdisciplinary teamwork skills as they will be expected to work with researchers in water resources engineering, computation, informatics, ecology, and environmental economics. The candidate will benefit from the unique capabilities at ORNL and will have the opportunity to develop cutting-edge research supporting clean, renewable, and sustainable energy.

ESD is an interdisciplinary research and development organization with more than 60 years of achievement in local, regional, national, and international environmental research. Our vision is to expand scientific knowledge and develop innovative strategies and technologies that will strengthen the nation’s leadership in creating solutions to help sustain the Earth’s natural resources. Our scientists conduct research, develop technology, and perform analyses to understand and assess responses of environmental systems at the environment-human interface and the consequences of alternative energy and environmental strategies.

Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Conduct cutting-edge research in the fields of hydrology, hydraulics, and water resources management for global energy-water security.
  • Develop, improve, and implement novel water power theories and technologies to promote the sustainable growth of national clean and renewable energy.
  • Lead and participate in research partnerships with industrial and academic partners.
  • Lead or contribute to proposals for future research related to clean and renewable energy development.
  • Publish high-quality, impactful, peer-reviewed journal articles and reports.
  • Maintain strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.
  • 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 Engineering, Physics, Environmental Science, or a related field completed within the last 5 years

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in at-least one of the following fields:
    •  Field, laboratory, or numerical testing of hydraulic structures
    •  Mechanical engineering / design of water power technologies
    •  Hydrologic, hydraulic, and reservoir management modeling
    •  Geospatial and remote sensing data analysis (e.g., GIS, Google Earth Engine)
    •  Hydroclimate extremes and impact assessment
    •  Water power resource evaluation, and environmental impact science
  • Strong scripting and programming skills (e.g., R, Python, MATLAB, C, Fortran)
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills
  • Strong record of productive and creative research, demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conferences
  • Capability of working collaboratively in a team environment and interacting effectively with a broad range of colleagues across both national and international institutions

Applicants should submit a cover letter and current CV with their application.

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

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  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document

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.

Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.

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