Associate Laboratory Director for Biological & Environmental Systems Science

Wullschleger named associate laboratory director for Biological and Environmental Systems Science

Stan Wullschleger has been selected as the associate laboratory director for the Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate, or BESSD, at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) for Biological and Environmental System Sciences serves as an executive member supporting the Laboratory Director in accomplishing Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s mission. In this capacity, the ALD leads the science and technology programs in biological and environmental sciences with responsibilities in three integrating roles to (1) establish a compelling vision complemented with a strategic execution plan, (2) strengthen stakeholder engagement and relationship management with major sponsors, and (3) drive staff professional growth and development while creating organizational momentum that enhances our facilities and capabilities. 

The directorate is an interdisciplinary research and development (R&D) organization with more than 60 years of achievement in biological and environmental research primarily in support of the Department of Energy. You will have the opportunity to expand scientific knowledge and develop innovative strategies and technologies that will demonstrate national and international leadership in creating world-class scientific solutions for biological and environmental dimensions of energy and climate. Emphasis is placed on providing scientific leadership of large complex research programs with a focus on successful implementation and execution of scientific strategy for the directorate. Strategic thinking and leadership will be critical for implementing management systems, operations, safety, security, compliance, and performance assessments across the entire directorate, and serving on the Laboratory Leadership Team

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Lead biological and environmental research for the Laboratory, including the development and implementation of scientific strategy to sustain national and international prominence.
  • Serve as the primary liaison to the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research and other sponsors (such as the National Institutes of Health), ensuring that the science and technology programs are meeting client needs.
  • Develop research programs and strategic partnerships with other national laboratories, colleges and universities, other research institutions, and public and private corporations.
  • Drive strategic initiatives for the directorate, including genes to ecosystem, bioimaging, data science, bioenergy, ecosystem field experimentation, and climate sciences.
  • Establish new capabilities and facilities that are foundational to the enduring missions of ORNL.
  • Work with the Laboratory Director and Leadership Team to identify and implement strategic research opportunities, including LDRD (Laboratory Directed Research and Development) priorities.
  • Maintain compliance with Laboratory policies, standards, and procedures as documented in the Standards-Based Management System. Implement operational standards to meet the expectations of the Laboratory Agenda.
  • Manage programmatic funds and discretionary investments for research and program development
  • Act as a steward for laboratory operations, facilities, capital, and equipment. Direct line management responsibilities for the Environmental Sciences Division, Biosciences Division, and DOE Center for Bioenergy Innovation.
  • Advise leadership of research activities, program development, strategic initiatives, and associated operational risks and hazards.
  • Create and nurture an environment that promotes and embraces a diverse workforce.
  • Promote a culture of scientific excellence, while performing work in a safe and secure manner.
  • Foster initiatives for employee development through mentoring, performance, and succession planning.
  • Develop and manage self-assessment programs ensuring alignment with the Laboratory Critical Outcomes, the Laboratory Agenda, and other internal or DOE performance metrics.
  • Act as the primary directorate contact, representing the directorate on lab-level committees, task forces, and working groups with a shared responsibility for the overall lab-wide science and technology strategy.
  • Identify staffing and other resource requirements. Support recruiting initiatives in diversity, in fellowships, and in university relations.
  • Integrate and implement commercialization activities through the directorate’s business plan and strategies.


  • PhD in a technical field related to the research conducted in a large division or directorate, with 3–10 years of demonstrated executive management experience, including developing and leading large, complex, and multidisciplinary research programs and organizations.
  • Experience in communicating with key stakeholders, clients, program sponsors, and internal staff; and recognition as a leading expert and visionary.
  • Demonstrated experience in successfully developing, implementing, and executing scientific strategy with engagement from critical stakeholders.
  • Experience with the DOE Office of Science is preferred, especially Biological and Environmental Research


This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance from the Department of Energy. This position, therefore, is designated for the Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) testing. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.