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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory MSIPP-EM Post Doc Research Associate - Biogeochemical Transport Simulations in Des Moines, Iowa


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.


Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to collaboration and work–life balance. Every year, scores of dynamic, driven interns 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!

The successful candidate will work with a diverse team of scientists on problems related to environmental management, with a specific focus on simulating reactive biogeochemical transport processes in the subsurface environment. The preferred candidate will have familiarity in the fields of water chemistry, geochemistry, numerical methods for subsurface simulation and high performance; demonstrated capability to publish in peer reviewed journals; and excellent verbal communication skills. The position has the option of remote working with occasional travel to PNNL.

The successful candidate will join other postdocs and graduate fellows as part of the Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP). MSIPP is funded by the Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM). DOE-EM is working to cleanup legacy radioactive waste found in soil, groundwater, and underground storage tanks. All research aligns with DOE-EM’s mission to safely immobilize and cleanup environmental legacy waste, focusing on cleanup of the Hanford Site which is one of the most complex DOE sites due to hazardous comingled contaminates. For more information, go to .

Contribute to PNNL’s goals as part of the Lab’s Energy and Environment Directorate. With support from the Department of Energy, PNNL is exploring complex chemical phenomena to enable innovations in retrieving and processing radioactive tank waste stored at the Hanford site. In the Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials (IDREAM) Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC), supported by Basic Energy Sciences, we work on the fundamental chemistry in complex environments characterized by extremes in alkalinity, low-water activity, and chemical phenomena driven far from equilibrium by ionizing radiation, all of which are characteristics of legacy radioactive tank waste. We then work with Environmental Management and the Hanford site contractors to apply this fundamental knowledge for accelerating the processing of legacy radioactive waste that is currently stored in underground tanks.

Central to this work is characterizing solution structure and precipitation/dissolution reactions in these concentrated multicomponent systems. Reactivity can be impacted by the formation of multi-length scale solution structures, and by exposure to ionizing radiation which results in the formation of new reactive species. The team is investigating these phenomena across length scales and timescales utilizing a variety of experimental techniques available at PNNL, including vibrational spectroscopies, X-ray diffraction, and optical microscopy, among others, while taking advantage of world-class expertise and capabilities. You will also have the opportunity to perform research at scientific user facilities, utilizing techniques such as small angle X-ray scattering, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, etc. You will design and conduct experiments, and lead manuscript development.

As a post-doctoral researcher at PNNL, you will become an integral member of an interdisciplinary team working on the complex chemistry that underpins the efficient processing of radioactive tank waste. Through IDREAM, you will also become part of our highly motivated Early Career Network to assist you in your career development and scientific skills, and you be mentored by our staff scientists.

The Ideal Candidate: If you are ready to test your talents and training in contributing to the cleanup of the Department of Energy’s largest legacy nuclear site, we want to connect with you. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply; you do not need to meet all the Preferred Qualifications to be considered.

All projects involving lab work will be located in Richland, WA. Projects focused on computer science or modeling may have remote opportunities.

To qualify you must have attended a Minority Serving Institution (MSI). MSIs are institutions of higher education enrolling populations with significant percentages of undergraduate minority students. Don’t know if your school qualifies? Ask us! Please email to find out more.


Upload Resume or CV in “Resume” section only (note: If applying to multiple positions, the most recent resume uploaded will be used for all positions an applicant applies to).

Electronic applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. (PST) on the posting close date.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Candidates must have received a PhD within the past five years (60 months) or within the next 8 months from an accredited college or university.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • To qualify for this MSIPP position the candidate must have graduated from a minority serving institution (MSI) for either an undergraduate or graduate degree.

  • Experience with geochemistry or geochemical transport modeling software (e.g., CrunchFlow, Geochemist’s Workbench, MINTEQA2, PFLOTRAN, PHREEQC, TOUGHREACT, etc.)

  • Experience simulating subsurface Earth system processes (e.g., groundwater flow, solute transport, biogeochemical reaction)

  • Experience with Linux-based operating systems

  • Experience with Python scripting and visualization software

  • Experience with state of the art numerical methods

  • Experience programming in modern Fortran or C/C++ Experience simulating multiphase flow, heat transfer and/or reactive transport

  • Experience with high performance computing

  • Demonstrated proficiency with verbal and written communications

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment

Not Applicable.

Additional Information

Not Applicable.

About PNNL

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.

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.

If you are offered employment at PNNL, you must pass a drug test prior to commencing employment. PNNL complies with federal law regarding illegal drug use. Under federal law, marijuana remains an illegal drug. If you test positive for any illegal controlled substance, including marijuana, your offer of employment will be withdrawn.

HSPD-12 PIV Credential Requirement

In accordance with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) and Department of Energy (DOE) Order 473.1A, new employees are required to obtain and maintain a HSPD-12 Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Credential. To obtain this credential, new employees must successfully complete and pass a Federal Tier 1 background check investigation. This investigation includes a declaration of illegal drug activities, including use, supply, possession, or manufacture within the last year. This includes marijuana and cannabis derivatives, which are still considered illegal under federal law, regardless of state laws.

Mandatory Requirements

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from having any affiliation with the foreign government of a country DOE has identified as a “country of risk” without explicit approval by DOE and Battelle. If you are offered a position at PNNL and currently have any affiliation with the government of one of these countries, you will be required to disclose this information and recuse yourself of that affiliation or receive approval from DOE and Battelle prior to your first day of employment.

Rockstar Rewards

Employees and their families are offered medical insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, health savings account, flexible spending accounts, basic life insurance, disability insurance, employee assistance program, business travel insurance, tuition assistance, supplemental parental bonding leave, surrogacy and adoption assistance, and fertility support. Employees are automatically enrolled in our company funded pension plan and may enroll in our 401k savings plan. Employees may accrue up to 120 vacation hours per year and may receive ten paid holidays per year.

  • Research Associates excluded.

**Once eligibility requirements are met.

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Notice to Applicants

PNNL lists the full pay range for the position in the job posting. Starting pay is calculated from the minimum of the pay range and actual placement in the range is determined based on an individual’s relevant job-related skills, qualifications, and experience. This approach is applicable to all positions, with the exception of positions governed by collective bargaining agreements and certain limited-term positions which have specific pay rules.

As part of our commitment to fair compensation practices, we do not ask for or consider current or past salaries in making compensation offers at hire. Instead, our compensation offers are determined by the specific requirements of the position, prevailing market trends, applicable collective bargaining agreements, pay equity for the position type, and individual qualifications and skills relevant to the performance of the position.

Minimum Salary

USD $69,000.00/Yr.

Maximum Salary

USD $119,100.00/Yr.