PNNL Careers

Chief Catalysis Scientist


Job Description

Job ID: 307684
Full/Part Time: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular

Job Description

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is seeking an accomplished senior scientist to lead a new laboratory focus in Chemical Conversions. This position is responsible for providing vision and leadership to strengthen and develop new PNNL capabilities in catalysis, which will involve planning and implementing strategies for new facilities and instrumentation, and leading the Laboratory’s Chemical Transformations Initiative (CTI). In collaboration with scientists and engineers in basic and applied science programs at PNNL, the successful candidate will translate fundamental chemical science to applied problems, accelerating the development of novel catalysts to address national challenges. 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. Further, this individual will work collaboratively with the Institute for Integrated Catalysis (IIC), which is the home of PNNL’s DOE-BES Catalysis program, and a cornerstone of its integrated fundamental and applied catalysis strategy.

Currently the Catalysis program at PNNL consists of activities in the following areas:
• Heterogeneous catalysis
• Surface science
• Homogeneous catalysis, including the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, a DOE-EFRC
• Bioinspired/Biomimetic catalysis
• Biocatalysis

The successful candidate is expected to immediately begin leading peer-reviewed fundamental research in an area complementary to the above efforts, preferably in the area of Heterogeneous Electrochemistry. She or he is expected to do so by collaborating with current PNNL staff, enhancing ongoing research efforts, and strategically developing and executing a plan to secure federal support for future research activities, particularly the DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences. 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.

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 catalysis challenges. Major areas of responsibility will include:
• Leading the development of PNNL’s strategy in Chemical Conversions and working with the IIC director.
• Providing technical leadership and direction for new research in Chemical Conversions.
• 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 catalysis at PNNL.
• Participating in team meetings and providing reports to research sponsors and higher-level managers.
• Contributing to peer-reviewed catalysis research efforts and establishing active collaborations with research staff in PCSD and other organizations at PNNL.
• Serving as a spokesperson for the laboratory strategy in Chemical Conversions.
• Participating 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.
The successful candidate will have an international reputation in catalysis science and demonstrate a broad understanding of the cross-cutting science and technology needs in catalysis. She/he must have demonstrated the ability to function at the forefront of catalysis science research with national and international impacts. The following requirements apply:
• Established research career, outstanding publication record, and international reputation in an area of catalysis or closely related area of science.
• Demonstrated expertise in the development and application of experimental approaches to understand the fundamentals of catalysis, particularly in the area of Heterogeneous Electrochemistry.
• Proven ability to develop and lead groundbreaking scientific research.
• Knowledge of government programs, particularly within the Department of Energy, in chemical sciences and catalysis.
• Experience in managing projects and operating laboratory facilities.

Desirable attributes of the candidate include:
• Ability to translate fundamental science to applied problems in catalysis
• Established, visible leader and spokesperson in the catalysis community.
• Demonstrated ability to develop teams with diverse backgrounds working on focused problems.
• Demonstrated success in conceiving and attracting funding for research programs involving multiple principal investigators.
• Demonstrated ability to team effectively with peers on large collaborative research endeavors.

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

Minimum Qualifications

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

Preferred Qualifications

Ph.D. in relevant science or engineering field with 10 or more years of experience, international reputation in catalysis and a demonstrated ability to attract and carry out research and development programs as evidenced by publication record. Must have the ability to conduct high-quality, productive research in areas of importance to our DOE programs, the Chemical Transformations Initiative, and the Chemical Conversions laboratory strategy.

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 307684
Directorate: Physical & Computational Sciences
Division: Physical Sciences