Postdoctoral Researcher - Polymer Science

Updated: about 1 month ago
Location: Golden, COLORADO
Job Type: FullTime

Posting Title

Postdoctoral Researcher - Polymer Science



CO - Golden


Position Type

Postdoc (Fixed Term)


Hours Per Week



COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Employment at NREL is contingent upon your compliance with all NREL and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) safety protocols and mitigation efforts directed at the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working at NREL
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado is the nation's primary laboratory for research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

From day one at NREL, you’ll connect with coworkers driven by the same mission to save the planet. By joining an organization that values a supportive, inclusive, and flexible work environment, you’ll have the opportunity to engage through our eight employee resource groups, numerous employee-driven clubs, and learning and professional development classes.

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Note: Research suggests that potential job seekers may self-select out of opportunities if they don't meet 100% of the job requirements. We encourage anyone who is interested in this opportunity to apply. We seek dedicated people who believe they have the skills and ambition to succeed at NREL to apply for this role.

Job Description

The Bioenergy Science and Technology (BEST) directorate within the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) performs a full range of research from exploring biomass at the molecular level through biorefinery process optimization to bring biofuels and bio-products to market. The directorate has recently expanded its research focus to include polymer science, polymer chemistry, plastics recycling, upcycling and sustainable polymeric materials and processes and includes bioderived monomers and polymers through a DOE-funded program called The BOTTLE Consortium. This research encompasses multiple areas including thermoplastics and thermosets, waste plastics deconstruction, new recycle-by-design polymer synthesis and characterization, and thermal, photo-, and bio-catalytic deconstruction processes.

Our research group is focused on developing a true circular economy for new high-performance polymers and composites. Our team brings together a wide range of technical expertise and diverse experiences unified by a passionate drive to increase the technoeconomic feasibility of new polymer materials for a circular economy. Interdisciplinary collaboration and a relentless pursuit of advancing understanding and innovation at the intersection of fundamental science and enabling materials for energy applications and an improved environment is paramount to every member of our team.

We are seeking several full-time post-doctoral researchers to explore and innovate in the area of new high-performance polymers and composites with an emphasis on ease of recycling and circularity at the end of use. Our mission requires the design and synthesis of new monomers and polymers for the creation of high-performance materials for specific applications of priority to the future sustainable energy economy.  We are seeking outstanding scientists and engineers with training in one or more of the following areas: 


  • Polymer Chemistry: Monomer and Polymer Synthesis and Characterization
  • Polymer Materials Science and Engineering: Processing and Structure/Property Relations
  • Polymer Composites: Creation, Characterization and Testing
  • Polymer Elastomers – Creation, Characterization, Modification, and Testing

The ability to conduct laboratory experiments with minimal supervision and with the utmost regard to safety is required. Teamworking skills, a collaborative spirit, curiosity, and excellent communication are important attributes for this position. 


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


Additional Required Qualifications
  • Experience in polymer synthesis and characterization
  • In-depth experience with polymer characterization techniques (e.g. FTIR, NMR, GPC, TGA, DSC, DMA)
  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to deliver high-quality results within aggressive timelines
  • Strong record of quality peer-reviewed publications.
  • Strong safety record and ability to follow complex standard operating procedures.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with polymer structure/property relationships
  • Experience in bio-based polymer development
  • Experience in organic synthesis for monomer production
  • Experience with polymer composites


Annual Salary Range (based on full-time 40 hours per week)
Job Profile: Postdoctoral Researcher / Annual Salary Range: $69,400 - $114,500

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.

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.


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