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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Chemical Engineer 2 (8015) in Richland, Washington

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to the values of Integrity, Creativity, Collaboration, Impact, and Courage. Every year, scores of dynamic, driven people come to PNNL to work with renowned researchers on meaningful science, innovations and outcomes for the U.S. Department of Energy and other sponsors; here is your chance to be one of them!

At PNNL, you will find an exciting research environment and excellent benefits including health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State—the dry side of Washington known for its stellar outdoor recreation and affordable cost of living. The Lab’s campus is only a 45-minute flight (or 3 hour drive) from Seattle or Portland, and is serviced by the convenient PSC airport, connected to 8 major hubs.


PNNL's Earth System Science Division enables energy independence and national security through leadership in earth systems science, engineering, and decision analytics. Our work focuses on solving complex problems in the dynamic Earth system. Our interdisciplinary scientists steward a breadth of efforts that encompass research on plants to groundwater science and coastal zones, to storm prediction.

Our research focuses on understanding and mitigating operational risks at the interface of human and natural environments. This includes predicting the impacts of natural hazards and extreme climate events on Earth and human systems, along with the impacts of wildfire, flooding, sea level rise and storm surges. We focus on understanding and mitigating environmental contamination and increasing the resiliency, security and sustainability of water resources. We provide geointelligence through advanced sensing and data analytics to forecast complex system behaviors and operational performance to understand human-natural systems. This includes informed decision making and enhanced community resilience, advanced monitoring, and remote sensing of environmental systems for energy and national security. It also includes developing energy systems, including geothermal energy, sustainable oil and gas production, storage and utilization, along with carbon sequestration.

Driven by a “science-to-solutions” philosophy, we provide scientific leadership and technology to enhance national security, mitigate natural hazards and optimize disaster response. In the critical areas of energy, environment, intelligence, and defense, we deliver insights and decision support through the development of tools and solutions.


The Earth Systems Science Division (ESSD) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is seeking a Chemical Engineer to join our Operational Systems Engineering (OSE) Group. This represents a fantastic opportunity to be a key contributor to an internationally recognized research group that is pushing the envelope in operational systems ranging from hydropower and ecological systems to nuclear and border protection systems.

As a Chemical Engineer, you will provide technical leadership and expertise. Working with colleagues across the Laboratory, and in collaboration with our research partners in industry, academia, and at other National Laboratories, you will lead and support efforts to build research projects that leverage OSE Group capabilities to meet the technology goals of the Department of Energy and other key stakeholders. As a Chemical Engineer, you will have responsibility for supporting the development and growth of OSE competencies at PNNL with an emphasis on developing, proposing, and leading new projects. You will design, develop, and operate processes or unit operations to create and support a diverse range of products; evaluate and manipulate the chemical properties of various substances used in the fabrication of new products; and design, model, evaluate, and implement chemical processes, instrumentation, and equipment to ensure effectiveness in engineering and design. You will perform trials, tests, and/or experiments to support engineering, production, and/or R&D activities. You will apply the principles of chemistry, nuclear science, biology, physics, material science, math, and engineering to solve problems that involve the production, use or conversion of chemicals, materials, and energy and possess an enthusiasm for the potential to address major technical challenges affecting society and our resources. You should have demonstrated experience delivering effective and compelling written and oral communications to a broad range of audiences. As a Chemical Engineer, you will have significant responsibility for supporting and managing the safe operations of engineering and full-scale systems.

Responsibilities include:

  • Building a reputation through application of S&E principles and theories and developing technical approaches to solve challenges.

  • Defining and leading project work at a small task/project level, reporting results on time and on budget. Contributing to proposals. Receiving guidance on new assignments, making preliminary selections on technical alternatives. Independently completing recurring assignments.

  • Building networks at a local and capability level. Effectively teaming to share resources and optimize research at the group and division level. Mentoring junior staff and students.

  • Presenting at national or international forums.

  • Leading elements or sections of technical products with a growing influence.

  • Embracing expectations for quality, safety, and security. Communicating their importance within their work team.

  • Member of external professional community.

  • Complies with PNNL’s policies regarding environmental health and safety, waste management, and protection of intellectual property.

The selected candidate will have skills in one or more of these areas:

  • Published key findings in high-impact peer-reviewed journals as both lead and supporting author as well as present work at professional conferences.

  • Significant “hands-on” capabilities in design, constructing, and operating functional engineering systems.

  • Demonstrated use of engineering principles to further engineering design and construction efforts.

  • Prefer expertise in computational engineering, computational chemistry or materials formulation and design.

  • Interest and demonstrated skill working across a range of engineering projects and balancing budget, scope, and schedule commitments to make these projects successful.

  • Preferred experience working with radiation, or radioactive materials, or/and radiation detection equipment.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • BS/BA with 2 years of experience

  • MS/MA with 0-2 years of experience

  • PhD with 0 years of experience

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Preferred degree(s) in chemical engineering or related field (electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, materials engineering, etc.).

  • Preferred experience in PLC/electronics/programming.

  • Preferred excellent communications skills (e.g., writing white papers/proposals/reports/manuals plus compiling/presenting/interacting with program managers and clients)

  • Demonstrated participation in multidisciplinary efforts to provide solutions to complex problems where the problems are characterized by lack of precedents, source material, or lack of prior success.

  • Ability to effectively communicate within a team environment and with sponsors and partners.

  • Experience with systems design and computer aided design (CAD) tools.

  • Ability to perform project control functions (e.g., budgeting and forecasting; tracking hours/expenditures; critical path management; Power BI)

  • Eligibility for a security clearance is a requirement of this position.

  • Based on project and client requirements, US citizenship is required.

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment

  • The work involves significant laboratory and complex systems operations. High risk activities may include field work, systems operating at high temperatures and high pressures, and complex chemical and radiation hazards.

  • Some travel (for fieldwork, scientific conferences, and client networking) may be necessary depending on evolving project/programmatic needs and candidate interest.

Additional Information

Due to business needs and client space, US Citizenship is required:

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is subject to the Department of Energy Unclassified Foreign Visits & Assignment Program site, information, technologies, and equipment access requirements.

Testing Designated Position

This is not a Testing Designated Position (TDP)

Commitment to Excellence, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Equal Employment Opportunity

Our laboratory is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment dedicated to solving critical challenges in fundamental sciences, national security, and energy resiliency. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. In support of this commitment, we encourage people of all racial/ethnic identities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply for employment.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), protected veteran status, and any other status or characteristic protected by federal, state, and/or local laws.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures and in employment. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, contact us at .

Drug Free Workplace

PNNL is committed to a drug-free workplace supported by Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) and complies with federal laws prohibiting the possession and use of illegal drugs.

Mandatory Requirements

Battelle requires employees to have a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, subject to accommodation. Applicants are required to disclose their vaccination status following a conditional offer of employment and must attest to being fully vaccinated with a Center for Disease Control (CDC)-approved COVID-19 vaccination, or provide documentation of need for medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.