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Job Opening: Circular Economy and Digital Twin

Mechanical Engineer
Smart and Sustainable Manufacturing Research Opportunities for Circular Economy and Digital Twin at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

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NIST’s Engineering Lab (EL) Life Cycle Engineering Group has research opportunities in Life Cycle Engineering focusing on industrial digitalization for sustainable and resilient manufacturing. We are seeking to develop quantitative tools, methods, and standards-based reference implementations to support manufacturing practices using a product life cycle approach and systems thinking. As the group explores standards needs formaking a transition to Circular Economy practices, we will formulate methods for information, process, and material flows that can be better supported by standards and metrics. Recent trends in smart manufacturing technologies, including Manufacturing Digital Twins, will be leveraged to test their robustness and support demonstration of experimental metrics and approaches.Research areas of interest include

  • Sustainable manufacturing through better capture of environmental and other performance measures.
  • Interoperability of standards between life cycle areas to realize a “Digital Thread” and integrate Digital Twins
  • Application of Manufacturing Digital Twins standards to quickly and reliably evaluate potential solutions in a virtual world
  • Contributions to related, novel areas of research in emerging topics such as Circular Economy, Digital Twins, Human-in-the-Loop AI Systems, and Explainable AI (XAI)

We seek highly qualified researchers at various levels along their career paths that have a background in engineering (mechanical, industrial, chemical, environmental engineering, or similar) or computer science with an interest in supporting research in smart and sustainable manufacturing in a Circular Economy. Given the computational requirements of this research, candidates should have strong skills in AI/ML methods, Python and other coding languages, and software/GUI development. Strong oral and written communication skills are also a must. Above all, we seek those with an eagerness to learn and perseverance to change the world. We are targeting knowledge and skills in these areas:

  • Smart and sustainable manufacturing and Digital Twins
  • Circular Economy,product life cycles and the sustainability triple bottom-line
  • Processes for engineering, manufacturing, and/or supply chain operations
  • Approaches for manufacturing sustainability assessments and system validation
  • Engineering-oriented product development practices; Manufacturing modeling, simulation, and data analytics.
  • Industrial ecology methods such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Input-Output (I/O)modeling, and Material Flow Analysis
  • Development of analytical methods using machine learning, AI, and optimization algorithms
  • Advanced coding skills (Python preferred; R) including data collection and management (HD5F, JSON,SQL); Github/GitLab

Interested parties can reach out to
KC Morris
Life Cycle Engineering Group Leader
kcm [at] (kcm[at]nist[dot]gov)

We anticipate multiple vacancies for federal positions coming open and can consider a postdoc position. This opportunity will support professional growth in

  • Contributing to advances in to enable the future Circular Economy.
  • Progressing state-of-the-art standards for manufacturing including Manufacturing Digital Twins
  • Establishing a publication track record in manufacturing related-research.
  • Developing first-hand knowledge of one the country’s premier research and development labs.
  • Influencing the current state of the art in manufacturing technologies and practices around smart and sustainable manufacturing.
  • Networking with the advanced manufacturing community through engagement with strategic partners from academia, industry, other government agencies, and standards development organizations.

About NIST

NIST is an agency of the Department of Commerce. Our mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. NIST is the world's leader in creating critical measurement solutions and promoting equitable standards. Our efforts stimulate innovation, foster industrial competitiveness, and improve the quality of life. NIST is an organization with strong values, reflected both in our history and our current work. NIST leadership and staff uphold these values to ensure a high performing environment that is safe and respectful of all.

About EL

Our vision is to enable the next generation of innovative and competitive manufacturing through advances in measurement science. EL research projects aim to speed development, adoption, and integration of leading-edge intelligent technologies to advance U.S. manufacturing while making sure that new technologies are integrated in ways that address fundamental competitive factors including, productivity, agility, quality, and sustainability. Through research that stretches the limits of measurement science and pushes the envelope of current measurement and test capabilities, EL will:

  • Safely increase the versatility, autonomy, and rapid re-tasking of intelligent robots and automation technologies for smart manufacturing and cyber-physical systems applications;
  • Enable real-time monitoring, control, and performance optimization of smart manufacturing systems in the factories of small, medium, and large companies;
  • Enable rapid, agile, and cost-effective production of complex, first-to-market products through advanced manufacturing processes and equipment; and
  • Facilitate straightforward integration of engineering information systems used in complex manufacturing and construction networks to improve product and process performance.

Smart and Sustainable Manufacturing technologies are revolutionizing manufacturing practices globally. NIST is the U.S.government agency charged with helping manufacturers deploy these new technologies. EL performs the scientific research to ensure the technologies can be deployed in sound and reliable ways through standards and measurement techniques. Smart Manufacturing is one of EL’s top priority areas. Alternatively described as “Industry 4.0” or the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Smart Manufacturing refers to the increasing integration of cybersystems (e.g.,databases,software) and physical systems (e.g., machine tools, robots) in production. The result is the growth in capabilities to support automation of electronic commerce and supply chain integration—foundations which will be necessary to foster a Circular Economy.


Created May 26, 2022