Human Resources

Postdoctoral Scholar, Reactor Design & Optimization for Chemical Deconstruction of Waste Plastics

Apply now Job No: 21159
Department: Chemical Engineering
Work Type: Staff - Full Time
Location: Main Campus (Houghton, MI)
Full Time / Part Time: Full Time
Categories: Engineering, Sciences

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer that provides equal opportunity for all, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.  

If you require any auxiliary aids, services, or other accommodations to apply for employment, or for an interview, at Michigan Technological University, please notify the Human Resources office at 906-487-2280 or

Job Description Summary

The postdoctoral fellow will work on a funded project to the study of chemical deconstruction of waste plastics prior to microbial upgrading. For this project the research will focus on construction of novel chemical deconstruction reactors and process configurations and optimization of processing conditions. Long term, the results from this project will provide new approaches to deal with our global waste plastic crisis. This multidisciplinary project will provide significant opportunities for collaboration and close communication with researchers from multiple disciplines including biology, bioengineering, chemical engineering and materials science.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities (other duties may be assigned)

Design and construct custom reactors for deconstructing waste plastics
Analyze reaction products using HPLC/LC-MS/etc.
Optimize reactor design and processing conditions for target outputs
Publish research results in peer-reviewed scientific or technical journals
Collaborate with other team members and mentor undergraduate and graduate students
Supervision may be exercised over undergraduate student assistants
Apply safety-related knowledge, skills, and practices to everyday work

Required Education, Certifications, Licensures (minimum requirements)

Ph.D. in engineering or a related field, (chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, or other related fields will be considered).

Required Experience (minimum requirements)

Previous work experience in construction of reactors or equipment, troubleshooting, and process optimization.

Desirable Education and/or Experience

Experience working with high pressure and temperature reactors
Prior experience mentoring students
Experience with LabView software or similar for system automation

Required Knowledge, Skills, and/or Abilities (minimum requirements)

Demonstrated initiative and ability to develop, conduct, and publish on independent research projects.
Proficient communication skills (spoken and written English)
Demonstrated ability to collaborate effectively as part of a team

Desirable Knowledge, Skills, and/or Abilities

Proficiency in kinetic modeling and reactor design
Proficiency in statistical design of experiments

Language, Mathematics and/or Reasoning Skills


Work Environment and/or Physical Demands

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand and walk; sit, talk, or hear; use hands to handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; and to teach with similarly movements. The employee is occasionally exposed to the risk of electrical shock, chemical hazards, equipment operating at high temperatures and pressures, and moving mechanical parts. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

Required Training and Other Conditions of Employment

Every employee at Michigan Technological University will receive the following 4 required trainings; additional training may be required by the department.

Required University Training:

  • Employee Safety Overview

  • Anti-Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation Training

  • Annual Data Security Training 

  • Annual Title IX Training

Background Check:

Offers of employment are contingent upon and not considered finalized until the required background check has been performed and the results received and assessed.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) % (1=100%)


FLSA Status


Appointment Term

12 months



Pay Rate/Salary


Title of Position Supervisor

Assistant Professor

Posting Type

Internal & External Posting

Dependent on Funding


Special Instructions to Applicants (if applicable)

Interested applicants should submit the following - detailed curriculum Vitae (CV) with full publication list, and a statement of relevant qualifications and research interests. Applicants should also provide contact information for at least three references.

The expected start date is September 1, 2021. Review of applications will begin July 20th and continue until the position is filled. Please contact Rebecca Ong at with any questions.

Additional Information

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer that provides equal opportunity for all, including protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Applications from women and BIPOC scholars are highly encouraged by both the department and the institution. Michigan Tech is building a culturally diverse faculty committed to teaching and working in a multicultural environment and strongly encourages applications from all individuals. Michigan Tech is an ADVANCE Institution, and has twice received National Science Foundation funds in support of efforts to increase diversity, inclusion, and the participation and advancement of women and underrepresented individuals in STEM.

Required Education, Certifications, Licensures* (minimum requirements)

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