Research Scientist

NatureWorks LLC
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  • Post Date: Mar 14, 2019
  • Job Reference:
  • Start Date: 3/14/2019
  • Job Type: Full-Time

Job Description

Job Details


Company Overview:

NatureWorks LLC is a company dedicated to meeting the world’s needs today without compromising the earth’s ability to meet the needs of tomorrow. NatureWorks LLC is the first company to offer a family of commercially available, low-carbon-footprint, naturally advanced lactides and polylactide biopolymers or Ingeo™.  Our product is derived from 100 percent annually renewable resources with performance and economics that compete with oil-based intermediates, plastics, and fibers, and provide brand owners new cradle-to-cradle options after the use of their products. NatureWorks is jointly owned by Thailand’s largest chemical producer, PTT Global Chemical, and Cargill, an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial, and industrial products and services. For more information about NatureWorks and Ingeo, visit


Position Purpose:

The Research Scientist is responsible for independently evaluating, selecting, and applying standardized scientific or engineering procedures and techniques.  They work with a project team to determine the experiments, testing, and/or modeling necessary to achieve project objectives.   The Research Scientist is responsible for supporting the Technology team by developing functional strategies, identifying and setting new standards or best practices, and developing and implementing new work processes.   Applies validated methodologies to solving R&D, production and customer problems by performing and/or coordinating experiments and analyzing data. Maintains, troubleshoots, and repairs pertinent laboratory equipment as the assigned equipment owner.


Primary Responsibilities:

Technology Leadership (25%)

  • Understands and implements new concepts within a technical discipline (e.g. reads scientific literature and acts upon the findings therein)
  • Collaborates with colleagues within the functional team to achieve group goals, including support for technology projects, the manufacturing function, and customer enquiries
  • Aware of the scope of other technical disciplines and how they interact within a given project
  • Frequently uses general knowledge of industry practices, techniques, and standards
  • Adapts existing methods and procedures to account for changes in input conditions or output requirements
  • Represents team by verbally presenting information at the Department level
  • May lead Technology Projects that have short-to-mid-term impact on the Technology Organization and support the goals and vision of the organization
  • Documents work plans, results, analysis, and conclusions of tasks and small projects in an archiving system
  • Identifies and secures support for small research topics under limited supervision
  • Aware of breadth of operations and primary customers; has contact with Customers and is aware of their key business focus
  • Interacts with instrument and laboratory equipment suppliers for routine maintenance or installation of new items

Technology Execution (65%)

  • Contributes to the completion of organizational projects or goals; exercises judgment within defined scope, cost, and timeline
  • Participates in phases of product & process development, including discovery, laboratory development, characterization, and scale-up as needed
  • Initiates and attends meetings with project leader or supervisor to ensure understanding of expectations or to seek additional information on relevant topics
  • Responsible for defining effort and duration of deliverables in collaboration with project leaders
  • Responsible for providing concise notes and reports for project leaders and customers for small projects
  • Continuous Improvement:
  • Identifies critical steps and uncertainties within a defined task, suggests opportunities for extensions to existing projects, and makes modifications/extensions to tasks with direct supervision
  • Identifies opportunities for team to improve project outcomes (e.g. reduced cost / time or improved results)
  • Exercises judgment; identifies and addresses hurdles and milestones required to achieve assigned tasks
  • Extends and improves ideas to create better solutions in area of specialization or within context of a project
  • Effectively captures and communicates data / own work within context of a functional team or project
  • Provides peer review of experimental data, statistical analysis of data, validations, and report conclusions

Environmental, Health & Safety Leadership (10%)

  • Operates safely within NatureWorks’ policies, procedures and governmental regulations and fully participates in and champions NatureWorks’ Environmental, Health, & Safety (EH&S) Programs
  • Ensures the EH&S Programs are being followed and provides a safe working environment to our employees and customers
  • Accountable for building a strong safety culture and actively pursues it on a daily basis; identifies unsafe behaviors and conditions and intervenes to mitigate incidents



Education and Experience Required:

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in Science or Engineering or equivalent experience in related discipline
  • 2-4 years of relevant industry or academic work experience related to material development with focus on polymer synthesis and/or formulations-design.
  • Understanding of structure-property relationships and analytical tools commonly used in characterization of such materials and formulations.
  • Knowledge of the practical application of materials science, engineering science and technology
  • Ability to read and understand the technical disclosure of patent literature, and works with Intellectual Property Manager to seek guidance from legal counsel on legal issues (e.g. patentability and non-infringement)
  • Proficient in various computer programs; for example, the Microsoft Office Suite and software driving laboratory instruments.

Additional Experience Preferred:

  • Experience with solvent or waterborne coatings, adhesive formulations and/or experience with melt polymer synthesis, and related performance testing.
  • Ability to tune, optimize kinetics, and properties of such materials.
  • Thermal characterization of materials using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analyses (TGA), etc.
  • Experience with mixing and processing equipment such as Brabenders, melt processing equipment and small-scale reactors or extruders.
  • Characterization of polymeric materials including end group titrations, thermal and mechanical property testing for adhesion, coating characterization especially to paper, wood and film packaging substrates.
  • Strong structure-property relationship understanding especially in polyester, polyurethane and acrylic chemistries.
  • Processing knowledge of polymeric materials by blending / compounding, extrusion, film casting, pigmented solvent and waterborne formulation …
  • Strong analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills

Other (knowledge, skills and abilities):

  • Strong mechanical aptitude demonstrated ability to keep equipment running, at times without instrument service contracts
  • Ability to analyze data (preferably using statistical analysis tools such as JMP) and prepare statistically meaningful project reports
  • Supports NatureWorks vision and values through project / team work
  • Strong customer focus and service orientation with the ability to interact effectively with employees and vendors at all levels in a cross-cultural setting
  • Understands the plans for meeting the business strategy and objectives, and how it relates to daily activities
  • Demonstrates speed and flexibility as appropriate in responding and adapting to changes
  • Promotes cooperation within the team and between teams
  • Demonstrated ability to adapt to a challenging and developing environment; willingness to take on new responsibilities as our business evolves
  • Demonstrated ability to manage conflicting priorities


Working conditions/physical requirements: 

  • Standard work hours; this position requires participation in laboratory, pilot plant, and production activities - on limited occasions, support for production trials may require work on weekends, shifts, or odd hours
  • Primary environment is combination of office and modern R&D Lab with state-of-the-art equipment
  • Ability for occasional travel that may be domestic or international
  • This position may require operation of heavy equipment such as extrudes and of instruments suitable for the characterization of polymers
  • Ability to occasionally lift up to 50 pounds; will follow Company safety and ergonomic guide lines to avoid injury

Contact Details

Name: Ashley Peckskamp

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