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National Renewable Energy Laboratory Postdoctoral Researcher – Analytical chemistry for advanced chemical upcycling of plastics in Golden, Colorado

Posting Title

Postdoctoral Researcher – Analytical chemistry for advanced chemical upcycling of plastics



CO - Golden


Position Type

Postdoc (Fixed Term)


Hours Per Week



Annual Salary Range (based on full-time 40 hours per week)

Annual Salary Range: $68,000 - $112,200

Offers will typically be made in the bottom half of the listed range. NREL takes into consideration a candidate’s education, training, and experience, as well as the position's work location, expected quality and quantity of work, required travel (if any), external market and internal value, including seniority and merit systems, and internal pay alignment when determining the salary level for potential new employees. In compliance with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, a potential new employee’s salary history will not be used in compensation decisions.

Job Description

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, is the nation's primary laboratory for research, development, and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The NREL mission is to develop renewable energy and energy efficient technologies and practices, advance related science and engineering, and transfer knowledge and innovation to address the nation’s energy and environmental goals. The Renewable Resources and Enabling Sciences Center at NREL has an opening for a full time Postdoctoral Researcher within the Analytical Sciences Group.

The successful candidate will work in the DOE-funded Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastics (CUWP) project to enable low cost technologies that sustainably upcycle plastic. The specific role will contribute to the advanced analytical chemistry efforts in CUWP, analyzing products produced from plastics pyrolysis and plastics oxidation to aid in the development of reaction modeling and downstream catalytic upgrading.

The successful candidate will implement existing analytical methods and also develop new methods, with a main focus on LC-MS techniques for small molecules. The ability to conduct laboratory experiments with minimal supervision with the utmost regard to safety is required, as well as, the ability to learn new techniques and protocols.

The successful candidate will be able to:

  • Work safely and independently in a laboratory setting

  • Plan and execute research in collaboration with other researchers

  • Communicate scientific results effectively, both in written and oral formats

  • Author peer-reviewed publications, and

  • Work effectively in a large, multidisciplinary, multi-institutional team of engineers and scientists.


Basic Qualifications

Must be a recent PhD graduate within the last three years.


Additional Required Qualifications

  • Demonstrated experience with analytical measurement techniques using UHPLC, qTOF LC-MS, triple quadrupole LC-MS, GC-FID, and GC-MS

  • Ability to characterize unique unknown compounds using an array of analytical techniques, when library matching is unavailable

  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving skills

  • Ability to deliver high-quality results within aggressive timelines

  • Strong record of quality peer-reviewed publications.

  • Strong safety record

  • Demonstrated ability to follow complex standard operating procedures with attention to detail.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated experience with a high-resolution Waters Synapt G2 Si qTOF-IMS Mass Spectrometer

  • Demonstrated experience in detailed characterization of small-molecule products resulting from thermal and catalytic deconstruction of heterogeneous, polymeric substrates (e.g., biomass, plastics, etc.)

  • Demonstrated experience with NMR spectroscopy

  • Familiarity with chemical synthesis and separations techniques


Benefits Summary

Benefits include medical, dental, and vision insurance; short-term disability insurance; pension benefits; 403(b) Employee Savings Plan with employer match*; life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance; personal time off (PTO) and sick leave; and paid holidays. NREL employees may be eligible for, but are not guaranteed, performance-, merit-, and achievement- based awards that include a monetary component. Some positions may be eligible for relocation expense reimbursement.

* Based on eligibility rules

Submission Guidelines

Please note that in order to be considered an applicant for any position at NREL you must submit an application form for each position for which you believe you are qualified. Applications are not kept on file for future positions. Please include a cover letter and resume with each position application.


EEO Policy

NREL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard basis of age (40 and over), color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, military or veteran status, national origin/ancestry, race, religion, creed, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding), sexual orientation, and any other applicable status protected by federal, state, or local laws.

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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a leader in the U.S. Department of Energy’s effort to secure an environmentally and economically sustainable energy future. With locations in Golden and Boulder, Colorado, and a satellite office in Washington, D.C., NREL is the primary laboratory for research, development, and deployment of renewable energy technologies in the United States.

NREL is subject to Department of Energy (DOE) access restrictions. All candidates must be authorized to access the facility per DOE rules and guidance within a reasonable time frame for the specified position in order to be considered for an interview. DOE rules for site access during the interview process are the same regardless of whether the candidate is interviewed on-site, off-site, or via telephone or videoconference. Additionally, DOE contractor employees are prohibited from participating in certain Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs (FGTRPs). If a candidate is currently participating in an FGTRP, they will be required to disclose their participation after receiving an offer of employment and may be required to disengage from participation in the FGTRP prior to commencing employment. Any offer of employment is conditional on the ability to obtain work authorization and to be granted access to NREL by the Department of Energy (DOE). We understand that COVID-19 may have caused delays or closures at offices, consulates, and embassies. However, NREL cannot make exceptions to work authorization and access requirements, and exceptions to these requirements are not being made for COVID-19 related delays.

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