Organization: NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center
Department: Strategic Energy Analysis Center
Location: Colorado, USA
Type: PhD and Postdoc Positions
More information: View details
The Postdoctoral Researcher will join a team of researchers in NREL’s Strategic Energy Analysis Center
(SEAC; www.nrel.gov/analysis) who perform environmental sustainability assessments of energy
technologies. With objective, technology-neutral analysis, SEAC aims to increase understanding of
energy policies, markets, resources, technologies, and infrastructure to address U.S. economic, security,
and environmental priorities.
Environmental sustainability has always been at the core of NREL’s mission. Now circular economy is
being added as another branch of this tree. Two projects anchor this Postdoctoral candidate’s position.
The first will support a flagship DOE Solar program report establishing a baseline of understanding and
then a vision for the future of this technology. The Postdoc will, under the supervision of the mentor, lead
the synthesis of what’s known about environmental benefits and impacts of solar technologies as well as
the state of knowledge with regard to circular economy, pointing to key gaps of knowledge and practice.
The second project will review available tools relevant to the circular economy for all clean energy
technologies. The combination of these will allow the postdoc to gain depth and breadth in the circular
economy, identify opportunities for future research and publish. Along the way, it is expected that other
projects relevant to the skill sets employed with these two projects will arise in this growth area for NREL.
A strong applicant will have enough scientific/engineering knowledge of the design and operation of solar
energy technologies, especially PV, to ground the work of this position. Application of the required
qualifications to solar energy technologies will be prioritized.
The applicant should have a strong publication record compared to peers at similar levels of education
and career experience, and the ability to give clear oral presentations on progress and results. The
applicant should desire to work independently within a team environment, and ideally will be able to
“manage up” to ensure they have the resources needed to complete assignments on time.
Interdisciplinary curiosity, resourcefulness, and internal motivation will enable the postdoc to function well
in the exciting and busy work environment of the nation’s only national lab focused on energy efficiency
and renewable energy technologies.
The ideal candidate will have:
• Demonstrated experience in researching the circular economy.
• Experience with a systems analysis approach especially life cycle assessment, material flow analysis or
• Knowledge of PV technologies, with preference to those whom have conducted research (whether
analysis or on PV systems with published works resulting.
• Experience developing or troubleshooting difficult models.
• Robust analytical skills and demonstrated ability to apply theoretical concepts to a real-world situation.
• Creative problem solving skills.
• Experience coding. Python is preferred but other languages may be acceptable if the candidate has demonstrated their initiative and capability to quickly learn coding languages.
• Demonstrated experience as a self-motivated learner with demonstrated ability to grasp new concepts quickly and to develop new skills and models as needed.
Must be a recent related PhD graduate within the last three years. PhD in a quantitative field relevant to sustainability, such as engineering (multiple disciplines such as civil/environmental, mechanical, chemical, industrial), economics, or interdisciplinary degrees in sustainability science or industrial ecology. Cover letter required
• Scientific and/or engineering knowledge of the design and operation of solar energy technologies, especially PV, to ground the work of this position. Application of the required qualifications to solar energy technologies will be prioritized.
• Programming skills related to working with quantitative data analysis, such as experience in energy modeling and programming and fluency in Python or similarly functional language, and ability to quickly pick up other languages.
• Ability to publish in high-profile journals.
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.
CO - Golden
Postdoc (Fixed Term)
Hours Per Week
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a leader in the U.S. Department of Energy’s effort to secure an environmentally and economically sustainable energy future. With locations in Golden and Boulder, Colorado, and a satellite office in Washington, D.C., NREL is the primary laboratory for research, development, and deployment of renewable energy technologies in the United States.
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