Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences

The Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) for Physical 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 physical sciences with responsibilities in three integrating roles to (1) establish a compelling future 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. 

Emphasis is placed on combining experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches for basic energy sciences programs and applications for technologies, including in materials and chemistry, energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation, fossil energy, fusion energy, and nuclear energy. You will also oversee research in nuclear physics, including low energy physics, relativistic heavy ions, theory, and fundamental symmetries of matter. Distinguished scientific leadership is expected to build and integrate a focused research and development program portfolio for the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, a Department of Energy, Office of Science Nanoscale Science Research Center. 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

  • Enhance world-leading scientific research programs in materials sciences, chemical sciences, nanosciences, and nuclear physics, as well as deliver high impact science with notable achievements.
  • Strengthen science-to-energy integration at ORNL in areas relevant to materials and chemical processes, including leading quantum materials, nanomaterials, polymers and composites, structural materials, separations, catalysis, and geochemistry, among others.
  • Manage DOE Basic Energy Sciences and Nuclear Physics programs with distinction by ensuring high impact publications and successful reviews in all program areas, including effective oversight of the management and operations of two Energy Frontier Research Centers, and effective management of Nuclear Physics scientific projects.
  • Ensure growth of world-leading nanoscience research capabilities and a vibrant user program at the CNMS.
  • Provide leadership in the integration of materials and chemical sciences capabilities across ORNL to promote laboratory-wide growth, including energy sciences and technology, life and environmental sciences, computational sciences, neutron sciences, and national security.
  • Provide leadership for the R&D Work Control Management System.
  • Implement management systems, operations, safety, compliance, and performance assessments across the entire directorate, and serve on the Laboratory Leadership Team
  • Integrate and implement commercialization activities through the directorate’s business plan and strategies.
  • Work with the Laboratory Director and Leadership Team to identify and implement strategic research opportunities, including LDRD (Laboratory Directed Research and Development) priorities.
  • Manage programmatic funds and discretionary investments for research and program development, and act as a steward for laboratory operations, facilities, capital, and equipment.
  • Maintain compliance with Laboratory policies, standards, and procedures as documented in the Standards-Based Management System and implement operational standards to meet the expectations of the Laboratory Agenda.
  • 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 and represent 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 and support recruiting initiatives in diversity, fellowships, and university relations.
  • Foster initiatives for employee development through mentoring, performance, and succession planning.


  • 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.
  • An internationally recognized research stature in one of the disciplines within Physical Sciences Directorate, and experience in managing large multidisciplinary science programs.
  • Experience 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 Basic Energy Sciences or Nuclear Physics


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