Postdoctoral Associate - LCA

PREP Research Associate - PREP0001488

May 25, 2023

This position is part of the National Institute of Standards (NIST) Professional Research Experience (PREP) program. NIST recognizes that its research staff may wish to collaborate with researchers at academic institutions on specific projects of mutual interest, thus requires that such institutions must be the recipient of a PREP award. The PREP program requires staff from a wide range of backgrounds to work on scientific research in many areas. Employees in this position will perform technical work that underpins the scientific research of the collaboration.

The position will collaborate with NIST researchers and NIST’s external collaborators in a variety of topics relevant to their work including economists, engineers, and scientists – connecting Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to fundamental research, life-cycle analysis, and decision support tools related to activities across a range of research topic areas, building and infrastructure, circular economy, climate, sustainability, resilience, and decision science. Initial activities will include assisting on one or more of the following NIST activities: Low Carbon Cements and Concretes Consortium, LCA of Polymers (Plastics) to Improve Circularity, or Metrics and Tools for Sustainable Buildings. Additional projects may involve life cycle assessment of solar photovoltaic systems and electric vehicles.

The position is in the Applied Economics Office (AEO), a part of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at NIST, provides economic products and services through research and consulting to industry and government agencies in support of productivity enhancement, economic growth, and international competitiveness, with a focus on improving the life-cycle quality and economy of constructed facilities and manufacturing processes that support social and economic functions. The AEO is integrated within EL’s major research thrusts: sustainability, energy conservation, community resilience planning, manufacturing, fire, smart grid, building construction, and safety. The AEO delivers high quality research and tool development that informs and assists stakeholders in their decision-making processes.

The work will entail: 

Key responsibilities could include, but are not limited to, assisting in the following:

  • Review, assessment, and improvements to NIST’s existing building product LCA data and decision support tools
  • Review, validation, and analysis of dynamic operational electricity LCA data
  • Literature review and assessment of the state of LCA in cement and concrete
  • Categorization and exploration of the effects of key plastic additives on recycling/circularity potential and life cycle metric, and prioritization of additives for inclusion into plastic LCA datasets
  • Identify research and data gaps in current LCA-related activities at NIST
  • Draft research slide decks, reports, and/or journal articles
  • Draft NIST research plan for improving LCA for a more sustainable, circular economy


  • PhD in Engineering, Environmental Science, or related field
  • Experience with life cycle assessment of at least one of the following topics: chemicals, plastics, concrete, solar photovoltaics, batteries, building materials, or whole buildings
  • Experience with life cycle assessment software, such OpenLCA, SimaPro, GABI, GREET
  • Experience in solving complex problems
  • Excellent writing and communication skills

Please upload the following (preferably in a single PDF) with your application:

  • Job Description
  • CV/Resume

Apply Here

The university is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer that does not unlawfully discriminate in any of its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law.