Senior Principal Scientist, Worldwide R & D

Lake Forest, Illinois, United States;
Closing date
Apr 1, 2023

View more

Health Sciences, Drug Development
Position Type
Full Time
Job Type
Research Scientist, Staff Scientist
Organization Type

The drug-product process-modeling team in Worldwide R&D, Pfizer seeks a Senior Principal Scientist (PhD level) to develop new computational models/tools to support the end-to-end development of drug-dosage forms (tablets, capsules, microsphere beads, ointments/creams, oral liquids, etc.). The successful candidate will use simulation techniques to solve industrial research problems related to powder/granular flows, fluid flows, and multiphase flows in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Experience with engineering or pharmaceutical computational techniques is required, such as: discrete element method (DEM), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), process models and flowsheets, statistical techniques, population-balance models (PBM), and engineering models.

Applicants must have a doctoral (PhD) degree in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Physical Sciences, or related discipline with a focus computational modeling along with experience of 10 or more years in the pharmaceutical or other related industry. Close collaboration with Pfizer project scientists is essential to this role. Candidates must have excellent communication skills and be able to identify opportunities to apply modeling to develop drug products. This full-time position is based in either Lake Forest, IL, USA or Groton, CT, USA.

The successful applicant will be a member of the Process Modeling and Engineering Technology (PMET) Network and will support the development and execution of a digital design strategy and deliver first in class digital solutions that support advancement of Pfizer's Bold Moves.

  • Work with Pfizer scientists to develop understanding of formulation and processes used in dosage form manufacture (tablets, capsules, microsphere beads, ointments/creams, etc.) and apply computational tools in support of formulation and process design, optimization, and troubleshooting, and dosage form quality attributes.
  • Identify opportunities to use engineering knowledge and computational tools to prospectively resolve project challenges. Be able to work in matrix environment supporting a global team of scientists with minimal supervision, to define the problem statement, then develop and execute a modeling work plan to solve the issue.
  • Support Pfizer's key technology platforms: continuous tablet manufacturing, pediatric microspheres, extended-release formulations, topicals (creams, ointments), and liquids, via computational modeling.
  • Using a variety of computational techniques, develop predictive tools and models to support drug development/manufacturing efforts for the Pfizer portfolio. Modeling techniques include (but not necessarily limited to): discrete element method (DEM), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), process models and flowsheets (e.g., gPROMS, ASPEN, Comsol), statistical techniques, population-balance models (PBM), and first-principles engineering models.
  • Work with other modeling leaders to develop a strategic plan to promote application of digital tools in drug product development workflows.
  • Drive Pfizer's digital design strategy through completion of external peer reviewed publications
  • Identify external partners (e.g., universities, research organizations) and vendors (e.g., software companies) to develop an external eco-system in this area.
  • Lead the inclusion of digital tools in regulatory submissions, including query resolution and influence global regulators.

  • Doctorate degree (PhD) in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Physics or Physical Sciences, or related discipline and 10 or more years research experience in a related industrial/academic setting.

  • Doctorate degree (PhD) in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Physics or Physical Sciences, or related discipline and 10 or more years research experience in a related industrial/academic setting. Research must be focused on computational modeling applied to granular/powder flows, fluid flows, and/or multiphase flows.


Required : Must have expertise in modeling of powder/granular flows, fluid flows, and/or multiphase flows. Expertise using discrete element modeling (DEM) and/or computational fluid dynamics (CFD) during graduate/professional research. Proficiency with other modeling techniques applied to granular/multiphase flows will also be considered (such as process modeling and flowsheets, finite element modeling, population-balance models, multiscale modeling, etc.). Capability and willingness to design, execute (hands-on) laboratory experiments to support modeling efforts. Must demonstrate good problem-solving skills. Ability to learn quickly and apply knowledge to new situations.

Candidate must be proficient in fundamental engineering/physical concepts such as mass, momentum, and energy transport phenomenon; and a mathematical ability to setup and solve linear, non-linear, and differential equations. Strong programming/coding skills and experience with numerical techniques is required. Proficient in programming using some standard language: Python, Matlab, R, C/C++, ssetc.

Excellent organizational skills: ability to manage several projects simultaneously and deliver results in a timely manner. Excellent interpersonal skills: work effectively as part of cross-functional teams and embrace team work. Excellent written and verbal communication skills: must be able to communicate ideas and results with colleagues with diverse backgrounds. Demonstrated track record of publications, presentations, and/or patents.

Desirable : Experience with pharmaceutical drug manufacturing. Familiarity with pharmaceutical unit operations (blending, granulation, milling, coating, etc.) is desired. Solid scientific understanding of physical processes relevant to pharmaceutical industry, such as powder and fluid rheology, dissolution kinetics, chemical kinetics, as they relate to dosage-form (tablet) design and bioperformance.

Should be familiar working in a high-performance-computing environment (Linux based). Experience with any of the following software is preferred: EDEM, LIGGGHTS, XPS, CFDEM, ANSYS Fluent, OpenFOAM, STAR-CCM+, PSE gPROMS Formulated Products, ASPEN, or other closely-related packages. Knowledge of data analysis and visualization packages (e.g., Spotfire or Tableau) is desirable. Strong statistical skills are also preferred.

Candidate demonstrates a breadth of diverse leadership experiences and capabilities including: the ability to influence and collaborate with peers, develop and coach others, oversee and guide the work of other colleagues to achieve meaningful outcomes and create business impact.


Requirements typical of office and occasional laboratory work. Ability to perform advanced and complex computational and data-analysis tasks.


Travel to meetings and/or project development/manufacturing sites (typically 5-10% during pre-Covid times); presently subject to Covid-19 status and guidelines.

Relocation support available

Work Location Assignment:On Premise


Relocation assistance may be available based on business needs and/or eligibility.


Pfizer requires all U.S. new hires to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to the first date of employment. As required by applicable law, Pfizer will consider requests for Reasonable Accommodations.

Sunshine Act

Pfizer reports payments and other transfers of value to health care providers as required by federal and state transparency laws and implementing regulations. These laws and regulations require Pfizer to provide government agencies with information such as a health care provider's name, address and the type of payments or other value received, generally for public disclosure. Subject to further legal review and statutory or regulatory clarification, which Pfizer intends to pursue, reimbursement of recruiting expenses for licensed physicians may constitute a reportable transfer of value under the federal transparency law commonly known as the Sunshine Act. Therefore, if you are a licensed physician who incurs recruiting expenses as a result of interviewing with Pfizer that we pay or reimburse, your name, address and the amount of payments made currently will be reported to the government. If you have questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact your Talent Acquisition representative.

EEO & Employment Eligibility

Pfizer is committed to equal opportunity in the terms and conditions of employment for all employees and job applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or gender expression, national origin, disability or veteran status. Pfizer also complies with all applicable national, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act and IRCA. Pfizer is an E-Verify employer.

Research and Development


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