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Center Director I-Technical

National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Golden, Colorado
Annual Salary Range: $156,600 - $281,900
Closing date
Sep 3, 2022

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Working at NREL

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado is the nation's primary laboratory for research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

From day one at NREL, you’ll connect with coworkers driven by the same mission to save the planet. By joining an organization that values a supportive, inclusive, and flexible work environment, you’ll have the opportunity to engage through our eight employee resource groups, numerous employee-driven clubs, and learning and professional development classes.

NREL supports inclusive, diverse, and unbiased hiring practices that promote creativity and innovation. By collaborating with organizations that focus on diverse talent pools, reaching out to underrepresented demographics, and providing an inclusive application and interview process, our Talent Acquisition team aims to hear all voices equally. We strive to attract a highly diverse workforce and create a culture where every employee feels welcomed and respected and they can be their authentic selves.

Our planet needs us! Learn about NREL’s critical objectives, and see how NREL is focused on saving the planet.

Note: Research suggests that potential job seekers may self-select out of opportunities if they don't meet 100% of the job requirements. We encourage anyone who is interested in this opportunity to apply. We seek dedicated people who believe they have the skills and ambition to succeed at NREL to apply for this role.

Job Description NREL is seeking a Center Director to provide leadership, technical direction, strategic guidance, planning, and overall management for the Materials Science Center ( within the Materials, Chemical, and Computational Sciences (MCCS) Directorate ( The Materials Science Center Director reports directly to the MCCS Associate Laboratory Director and is a key member of the MCCS Leadership Team. The Materials Center Director is expected to interface with the entire laboratory to provide fundamental and applied research and development (R&D) that contributes to the NREL and DOE mission. Key responsibilities include the following: 1) Develop, progress, and steward the technical capabilities (people, equipment, and facilities) of the Materials Science Center and ensure world-class R&D results in the area of materials science and related areas. 2) Develop teams and programs that address important R&D challenges in renewable energy and energy efficiency by representing the Materials Science Center, the MCCS Directorate, and NREL at the national and international level for interactions with other national laboratories and universities. 3) Lead and manage R&D activities and communications with DOE, industry, academic institutions, and other national laboratory stakeholders and partners.

The Materials Science Center’s portfolio for fundamental and applied research in renewable energy and energy efficiency includes photovoltaics and solar energy conversion; solar fuels; hydrogen production, storage and utilization; materials discovery, synthesis and development; advanced characterization, spectroscopy, microscopy and imaging; theory and computation; energy storage and reliability/durability. 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a leader in the U.S. Department of Energy’s effort to secure an energy future that is both environmentally and economically sustainable. With locations in Golden CO, Boulder CO, Fairbanks AK, and Washington D.C., NREL is the primary laboratory for research, development and deployment of renewable energy technologies in the United States. The NREL mission is to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and practices, advance related science and engineering, and transfer knowledge and innovation to address the nation’s energy and environmental goals. NREL aspires to be a world-class leader in workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion by creating and maintaining a culture of respect, caring, and belonging.

Job Duties:

  • Responsible for overall leadership, management, technical direction, and workforce development for over 100 professionals with expertise in interfacial and surface science, materials physics, characterization, microscopy and imaging, thin-film materials science and processing, reliability and durability, and photovoltaic (PV) field performance.
  • Create a supportive and collaborative work environment that encourages innovation, creativity, scientific excellence, and entrepreneurship, enabling staff to reach their full potential. Develop and enhance Center technical capabilities, including talent management and development.
  • Lead and guide the planning and execution of R&D, ensuring the delivery of quality products.
  • Participate as a member of the Materials, Chemical, and Computational Science Directorate’s Leadership Team and on NREL's Senior Leadership Team to contribute to strategy development, new initiatives, and integrated capability and program development.
  • Engage with DOE to understand strategic directions and to serve as a technical advisor on science and technology issues. Develop opportunities for collaboration that will advance DOE's strategy.
  • Manage staff resources, including hiring (and hiring planning), coaching, counseling, motivating, and evaluating performance. Ensure staff understand expectations and comply with policies and procedures.
  • Support and participate in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) activities by seeking first to understand through active listening, soliciting feedback, and valuing and incorporating diverse perspectives into the work and team environment.
  • Honor NREL’s employment opportunity, affirmative action, and anti-harassment programs, policies, and procedures.
  • Manage assigned facility resources, including all applicable environment, safety, and health (ES&H) programs, policies, and procedures to ensure and maintain a safe work environment and effective operations within the Center. Ensure fiscal responsibility by overseeing Center planning and budgeting
  • Work collaboratively with the Solar Energy Technology Office (SETO) Laboratory Program Manager and the National Center for Photovoltaics Director on the PV strategy for NREL, as well as working collaboratively with other DOE offices, including the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO), Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), and Office of Science Basic Energy Sciences (BES).

Required Knowledge, Skills and Attributes:

  • Extensive knowledge of the renewable energy industry, as appropriate, as well as regulations, principles, procedures and practices of relevant discipline(s).
  • Solves variety of multi-dimensional problems in absence of guidelines or precedents.
  • Models and embeds NREL values. Keeps abreast of key issues affecting respective Center/Office industry discipline(s). Builds effective teams; creates strong morale and spirit; shares wins and successes.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively lead and direct personnel with diverse skills, work styles and values, both directly and through subordinate management.

Basic Qualifications

• Previous management experience in research and development required.
• PhD degree in science or engineering, or equivalent education and experience required.
• Program strategy, development and implementation experience required.
• Demonstrated commitment to teamwork.
• Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Additional Required Qualifications

  • Demonstrated record of technical accomplishment and expertise in materials science, energy science, and/or related fields as evidenced by publications, patents, invited presentations, and other contributions.
  • Extensive knowledge of renewable energy science and technology.  Record of progressively more complex assignments and applications, including management or technical leadership experience in a R&D environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively lead and direct personnel with diverse skills, work styles and values, both directly and through subordinate management.
  • Technical expertise or significant working knowledge in fundamental and applied materials science research, applied physics and materials chemistry.
  • Knowledge of DOE and other government programs, in particular the Office of Science (OSC) and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
  • Proven ability to form diverse teams (national labs, academia, and industry) that can successfully compete for new funding from OSC and EERE is highly valued.  Record of successful program development.
  • Strong interpersonal, communication, organization, and presentation skills, including conveying hard truths in an empathetic way.
  • Demonstrated experience and commitment to safety and inculcating a safety culture.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated success managing a complex R&D organization with inter-organizational and industry-driven partnerships.
  • Recognized publications and technical contributions along with national reputation.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage, empower, and motivate senior technical staff.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and manage budgets and people.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively lead and direct personnel with diverse skills, work styles and values, both directly and through subordinate management.
  • Fifteen years of progressively more complex assignments and applications, including management or technical leadership experience in an R&D environment.
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