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Research Project Description

Post-Graduate – Geological and Environmental Sciences
U.S. Department of Energy
National Energy Technology Laboratory
National Energy Technology Laboratory
Pittsburgh, PA


Project Description:

Through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) this posting seeks motivated, post-graduates (PhD) interested in researching as part of the geologic and environmental sciences focus area research team at NETL. NETL is a multi-disciplinary, scientific and technical-oriented national laboratory. NETL’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) conducts research to evaluate environmental impacts and risk assessments associated with domestic energy resource development. 

As carbon storage sites are developed, monitoring strategies are needed in order to evaluate whether CO2 or fluids have leaked into shallower geologic reservoirs such as groundwater aquifers. Tracking produced waters and other fluids associated with energy development, such as those generated during hydraulic fracturing of gas shales, also requires monitoring strategies. One objective of the geological and environmental sciences focus area is to develop and demonstrate a protocol for the use of natural geochemical tracers to monitor groundwater systems. Specific tracers of interest include naturally-occurring isotopes.

Applicants for this position must have experience and capability to develop clean lab rock dissolution, chemical extraction, and element separation techniques. Applicants also must have a strong background in operating a Neptune multi-collector ICP-MS for analysis of radiogenic and/or non-traditional stable isotopes.

Successful candidates will work in the geochemistry facilities associated with NETL and collaborator institutions, which include a clean lab, TIMS, and Neptune Plus MC-ICP-MS with laser ablation capability. The candidate should be able to perform independent research projects, and perform work as part of an interdisciplinary team, including colleagues at NETL, site support contract staff, and university collaborators. Familiarity with statistics, groundwater geochemistry, and oil and gas operations, would be beneficial.


Position requirements:



  • Applicants must be U.S. Citizens or approved Foreign Nationals
  • Suitable for this position, as determined by background investigation.
  • Must hold a PhD degree in earth sciences or related/relevant field from an accredited institution, and have an ability to travel between the NETL-Pittsburgh facility and the University of Pittsburgh.

How to Apply:

Applicants should apply through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) program.  The ORISE Program provides opportunities for undergraduate students, recent graduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty researchers.  NETL utilizes the ORISE program to support research and work within NETL’s Office of Research & Development. 

Interested applicants should complete the online application at

  • In the online application list Alexandra Hakala as your requested mentor.  This will associate your application with this job posting.
  • If you have additional questions please contact Nancy Andres, Nancy.Andres@NETL.DOE.GOV, who is the NETL ORISE program contact.