Skip to main content

Laboratory and Field Technician - Environmental Sciences

Oak Ridge National Laboratory-ORNL
37830, Oak Ridge
Candidates may discuss with their recruiter at a later date
Closing date
Aug 8, 2024

View more

Job Type
Organization Type


The Earth Systems Science Section (ESSS) within the Environmental Sciences Division (ESD),, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL),, is seeking a highly motivated individual to provide laboratory and field support for several existing projects associated with ORNL’s Climate Change Science Institute. A common goal that permeates our research is using environmental field data to inform earth system models that represent the cycling of carbon, water, and nutrients in changing ecosystems. We measure soil and vegetation responses to prevailing or experimental environmental conditions to understand fundamental ecosystem processes. We are looking for someone to support our team by independently running analytical machines, ecophysiology field equipment, managing sample collection, data analysis and data curation, participating in field research campaigns, and maintaining a productive, clean, and safe laboratory environment. This position will primarily support field and laboratory activities in the NGEE Tropics Project (, focused in the area of understanding tropical forest responses to drought, and the SPRUCE field experiment, focused on understanding boreal peatland response to climate change. The position will also support various other research projects within the Environmental Sciences Division, such as the Knoxville urban heat island project,


This will be a full-time position with potential for scientific growth and career advancement for an independent and highly motivated individual. The position is initially for one year with full benefits including a medical plan and vacation, with potential for renewal based on performance and funding. The selected candidate will join the Ecosystem Processes group and focus on plant ecophysiological research with Dr. Jeffrey Warren.


Major Duties/Responsibilities

  • The successful candidate will conduct field and laboratory work, manage USDA plant/soil import permitting regulations, laboratory waste streams, equipment and space to ensure that all laboratory work is compliant with ORNL safety standards.
  • The person in this role will be responsible for running a cryogenic vacuum extraction system (for stable isotopes of water) and Picarro isotopic water analyzer.
  • There will also be periodic use of various ecophysiology equipment, including Campbell data logger systems, portable gas exchange systems (LICOR LI-6400, LI-6800), Walz monitoring PAM fluorometer, PMS pressure chambers and various sensors.
  • Laboratory activities will include sample preparation and analysis, data processing and analysis, equipment maintenance and troubleshooting.
  • Duties will also include development and writing up protocols, data archiving, and contributing to peer-reviewed manuscripts and reports, e.g., by data analysis, statistics and some writing.
  • Work will involve various physical requirements and other specific working conditions and as such a post offer, pre-hire physical will be required.
  • At least two, and likely up to four or more field trips a year to existing and new field sites (e.g., Missouri, Minnesota, Panama, Alaska) will be required to install equipment, conduct measurements and collect plant, soil and water samples.
  • During field campaigns, team members often work long hours and occasionally share housing: a strong work ethic and interest in natural ecosystems can make these challenging trips rewarding for the right individual.
  • Field conditions can be unpredictable and strenuous: inclement and hot weather, manual labor, insects, and unforeseen logistical challenges often prevail.
  • Travel for field campaigns is expected to take up roughly 1 month/year.
  • Deliver ORNL's mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace- in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • BS/BA or higher degree in biology, ecology, forestry, chemistry, geology or a related environmental field.
  • General knowledge of, or experience with ecophysiological and laboratory equipment and methodology.
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to work both alone and in a high-paced team environment.
  • The candidate must be dependable, eager to learn, and be available to take advanced training classes offsite.
  • Willingness to participate in field research at remote US or foreign research locations is required.
  • The candidate must be able to travel for 1-2 weeks at a time and perform physically demanding tasks outdoors.
  • The candidate must hold a valid driver’s license and be able to pass a background check.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • The ideal candidate will have a commitment to teamwork, continuous learning, a desire to improve the efficiency of everyday tasks, and a personal investment in accuracy, reproducible science, and data documentation and management.
  • Ability to juggle multiple projects and thrive within a collaborative environment
  • Familiarity with ecophysiological equipment such as gas exchange or fluorescence systems, isotopic analyzers, growth chambers, data loggers, soil water content or water potential sensors, sap flow systems, microscopy.
  • Familiarity with data processing and statistical analyses in R is strongly preferred.
  • Experience communicating technical information in a concise and clear manner


Additional Information:

  1. Jeffrey Warren:
  2. Biological and Environmental Systems Science Directorate:
  3. Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI):


Special Requirements:

  • Work involves various physical requirements and working conditions. As such, a pre-hire physical will be required after offer.
  • Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.


Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.


Other benefits include the following: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Disability Benefits, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.


If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email: or call 1.866.963.9545.




This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.


We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert

Similar jobs