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Research Assistant/Associate/Full Professor – Advanced Freight Technologies

University of Tennessee - Oak Ridge Innovation Institute
Knoxville, Tennessee
Salary will be determined commensurate with experience. UTK benefits and start up funding.
Closing date
Dec 28, 2023

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Transportation Engineering
Position Type
Researcher / Scientist
Organization Type

Position Description
UT-ORII was founded in 2019 by the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to help the US maintain prominence as a global leader in innovation and discovery, and to create a robust talent pipeline in areas of growing national need and demand. UT-ORII is funded by the Department of Energy and the State of Tennessee.

Roles and Responsibilities
UT-ORII research faculty will collaborate with the University of Tennessee - Knoxville (UTK) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers to address current and future challenges of the nexus of energy, transportation, and people. Research faculty will collaborate on existing research projects and reporting, proposal preparation and submission, and student mentoring at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Demonstrated Research Skills:

  • Strong communication skills and a demonstrated ability to work in a collaborative team environment.
  • A clear path to independence as a researcher is desired though an ‘on-ramp’ through collaboration with more senior investigators is also encouraged.
  • Additional expert-level skills that complement research activities at UTK and ORNL.
  • Commitment to mentoring junior investigators who will work with the Research Faculty is important, and if available, demonstrated experience.

More About UT-ORII:

The University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute is a partnership of UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) created to prepare interdisciplinary leaders in energy, science, and technology and develop a world-class workforce for industry, government, and academia that will drive innovation and create the industries of the future. More information is available at University of Tennessee - Oak Ridge Innovation Institute ( Today’s energy economy is driven by disruptive technologies and swift change. The US is in a global competition for jobs, talent, and investment. To successfully compete, we must develop leadership talent in research and development (R&D), encourage entrepreneurship, and create an educational environment that promotes rapid innovation and attracts skilled professionals. Leveraging a 80 years UT-ORNL partnership, UT and ORNL have developed joint institutes, joint facilities, interdisciplinary PhD programs, and comprehensive joint faculty arrangements, including 17 Governor’s Chairs recruited for the significance of their impacts in their fields. UT-ORII’s overall goal is to become a center for convergent research and talent development, helping maintain US prominence as a global innovation leader and providing tangible benefits to Tennessee.

More About The University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK):
Ranked among the nation’s top public universities, The University of Tennessee Knoxville is Tennessee’s premier land-grant research university. Founded in 1794, it is the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee system, with fourteen degree-granting colleges, 900 programs of study, 1,600 full-time instructional faculty, 14 UT ORNL Governor’s Chairs, and a $1.7 billion annual impact on the Tennessee economy. It hosts more than 33,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. It is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity", is the 6th in the nation for US Department of Energy funding, and, for FY22, had $324 million in research expenditures.

UTK is recognized as a leader in experiential learning and offers students unrivaled access to real-world research opportunities with premier laboratories and industry partners. Research at UTK is strategically organized around five broadly focused gateways – Advanced Materials & Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence, Energy & Environment, Human Health and Wellness, and Future Mobility.

Through the Future Mobility Initiative (, the traditional disciplinary boundaries to innovative transportation and mobility research can be overcome. The Center for Transportation Research ( has been a leader in transportation research, education, and outreach for 50 years. The center has over $10 million in expenditure yearly. The center leads the USDOT-funded Center for Freight Transportation for Efficient and Resilient Supply Chain, a Tier 1 University Transportation Center, and is part of the Center for Regional and Rural Connected Communities and the Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety.

More About Oak Ridge National Laboratory:
Since its establishment in 1943, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has been delivering scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs needed to realize solutions in energy and national security and provide economic benefit to the nation. More than 6,000 employees representing 60 nations apply unique facilities, sophisticated tools, and signature strengths in neutron science, high-performance computing, advanced materials, biology and environmental science, clean energy, fission and fusion science and engineering, isotopes, and national security research to benefit science and society. In addition, ORNL’s wide range of partnerships with other US Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories and programs, universities, and industry have enabled outstanding contributions to science. Over the years, ORNL researchers have received Nobel Prizes, contributed to the discovery of elements, received hundreds of R&D 100 Awards, and more. 


  • PhD in Engineering, Computer Science, or a related field upon appointment. 
  • Baseline knowledge of advanced technologies used in the movement of freight. The advanced technologies experience of the candidate can be focused on any combination of freight using rail, highway, air, or inland waterway modes is acceptable. 
  • Significant post-doctoral experience.
  • Demonstrated research skills.
  • Track record in funding, publications, and student mentoring.
  • Some formal teaching experience, since the investigator is likely to participate in providing some level of instruction in accordance with the UT-ORII mission.
  • Research experience in connected vehicles, safety for automated vehicles, or interoperable systems.

Preferred Qualifcations:

  • Candidates with additional knowledge and hands-on experience in one or more areas listed below are preferred:  
  • Positive train control or V-to-V communications
  • Connected vehicles and traffic operations
  • Automated truck deployment

The position will be implemented via a 3-year, renewable contract. Salary will be determined commensurate with experience. Benefits will be typical of exempt employees at the University of Tennessee. Some startup funds are available, and a recurring budget is also available.

Application Instructions
Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. All application materials should be submitted in Interfolio at .  

Applications must include:

A letter of interest  
A comprehensive curriculum vitae
A research plan
 3 professional references including names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
Equal Employment Opportunity Statement
All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admission without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law. In accordance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the University of Tennessee affirmatively states that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in its education programs and activities, and this policy extends to employment by the university. Requests for accommodations of a disability should be directed to the Office of Equity & Diversity, 1840 Melrose Avenue Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-3560 or or (865)974-2498. Inquiries and charges of violation of Title VI (race, color and national origin), Title IX (sex), Section 504 (disability), the ADA (disability), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age), sexual orientation, or veteran status should be directed to the Office of Investigation & Resolution 216 Business Incubator Building 2450 E.J. Chapman Drive Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 or (865)974-0717 or

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