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National Renewable Energy Laboratory Researcher III – Algae Engineering and Biotechnology in Golden, Colorado

Posting Title

Researcher III – Algae Engineering and Biotechnology



CO - Golden


Position Type

Limited Term (Fixed Term)


Hours Per Week



Annual Salary Range (based on full-time 40 hours per week)

Annual Salary Range: $73,900 - $133,100

Offers will typically be made in the bottom half of the listed range. NREL takes into consideration a candidate’s education, training, and experience, as well as the position's work location, expected quality and quantity of work, required travel (if any), external market and internal value, including seniority and merit systems, and internal pay alignment when determining the salary level for potential new employees. In compliance with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, a potential new employee’s salary history will not be used in compensation decisions.

Job Description

he 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. NREL's Bioenergy Science and Technology Directorate has an immediate opening for a staff researcher to contribute to the advanced algae biotechnology research group. Future photosynthetic bioenergy pathways will likely focus on a combination of carbohydrate and hydrocarbon-based fuels from a variety of sources, including algae (both micro- and macroalgae). Novel conversion pathways are being developed and broad chemical conversion chemistries are deployed, based on both chemical and biological (i.e. microbial) deconstruction of biomass, alongside microbial strain development for increased biomass and product biosynthesis.

What to expect:

  • Design and execute laboratory experiments for strain development for algae productivity improvements using advanced molecular biology tools, isolate and quantify high-value products from algae as well as biofuel precursor fractions from a variety of biomass samples, perform multiple chemical analyses (including GC/MS and LC/MS) on these fractions, and interpret and communicate the results.

  • Write multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts per year, including conference dissemination of results in presentations.

  • Contribute to collaborative proposal writing with senior staff for the formation of new proposals and business development opportunities.

  • Contribute to research and development activities within the Bioenergy Science and Technology Directorate by developing advanced molecular tools for cell biochemistry manipulation optimization for both biofuel and bioproduct optimization.

  • Focus includes but not limited to non-model algae genetic engineering, vector design and genetic tractability of a range of different organisms, ideally including the expression of metabolically active genes to modulate intracellular physiology.

  • Advanced continuous monitoring of cell physiology in the context of rapid and real-time CO2 uptake monitoring.

  • Contribute as part of a larger team involved with algae biotechnology for strain and process improvements in terms of carbon capture and storage.

  • An inherent part of the job involves team interactions, build effective teams and enhance the technical and professional skills of junior team members, such as undergraduate and graduate interns.

  • Frequently contributes to the development of new theories and methods.

  • Displays a substantial and significant record of achievement through reports, publications, intellectual property, or technical products.

The assignment is for one year to start with possible renewal.


Basic Qualifications

Relevant PhD. Or, relevant Master's Degree and 3 or more years of experience. Or, relevant Bachelor's Degree and 5 or more years of experience.


Additional Required Qualifications

  • Demonstrates complete understanding and wide application of scientific technical procedures, principles, theories and concepts in the field. General knowledge of other related disciplines. Demonstrates leadership in one or more areas of team, task or project lead responsibilities. Demonstrated experience in management of projects. Very good technical writing, interpersonal and communication skills.

  • Must have demonstrated experience with microbial or algae biotechnology, strain engineering, strong microbiology and photophysiology background, ideally GC/MS and LC/MS analysis, including hands-on operation of the instrumentation, and data reduction and interpretation.

  • Have a basic understanding of bioinformatics and a basis of coding in a data analysis computing language, such as R. Strong writing skills, organizational skills, critical data review and communication in small and large group setting.

  • Demonstrate a successful track record of non-model algae genetic engineering, vector design and genetic tractability of a range of different organisms, ideally including the expression of metabolically active genes to modulate intracellular physiology.

  • In depth understanding and successful experimental record of primary carbon assimilation biochemical and metabolic pathways is required in particular in single cell photosynthetic organisms such as algae.

  • Additionally, the candidate needs to have a basic understanding of metabolomics of photosynthetic organisms, including experimental design and statistical interpretation of experiments.

Preferred Qualifications

The ideal candidate will have a PhD in Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, have experience with molecular biology, bioinformatics, mass spectrometry and managing large data sets, have solid statistical analysis, experimental design, and data mining skills, and have a strong publication record in relevant areas.


Benefits Summary

Benefits include medical, dental, and vision insurance; short- and long-term disability insurance; pension benefits; 403(b) Employee Savings Plan with employer match; life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance; personal time off (PTO) and sick leave; paid holidays; and tuition reimbursement. NREL employees may be eligible for, but are not guaranteed, performance-, merit-, and achievement- based awards that include a monetary component. Some positions may be eligible for relocation expense reimbursement. Limited-term positions are not eligible for long-term disability or tuition reimbursement.

* Based on eligibility rules

Submission Guidelines

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.


EEO Policy

NREL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard basis of age (40 and over), color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, military or veteran status, national origin/ancestry, race, religion, creed, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding), sexual orientation, and any other applicable status protected by federal, state, or local laws.

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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.

NREL is subject to Department of Energy (DOE) access restrictions. All candidates must be authorized to access the facility per DOE rules and guidance within a reasonable time frame for the specified position in order to be considered for an interview. DOE rules for site access during the interview process are the same regardless of whether the candidate is interviewed on-site, off-site, or via telephone or videoconference. Additionally, DOE contractor employees are prohibited from participating in certain Foreign Government Talent Recruitment Programs (FGTRPs). If a candidate is currently participating in an FGTRP, they will be required to disclose their participation after receiving an offer of employment and may be required to disengage from participation in the FGTRP prior to commencing employment. Any offer of employment is conditional on the ability to obtain work authorization and to be granted access to NREL by the Department of Energy (DOE). We understand that COVID-19 may have caused delays or closures at offices, consulates, and embassies. However, NREL cannot make exceptions to work authorization and access requirements, and exceptions to these requirements are not being made for COVID-19 related delays.

Please review the information on our Hiring Process ( website before you create an account and apply for a job. We also hope you will learn more about NREL ( , visit our Careers site ( , and continue to search for job opportunities ( at the lab.