Now hiring: Materials Scientist

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Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) seeks a Hyundai Materials Scientist to join Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab. Founded in 1937 by RISD graduate and long-time faculty member Edna Lawrence, the Nature Lab provides students and faculty with an engaging space for exploring the forms, patterns and processes in nature as well as an understanding of our place within the living world. It is a forum, sustained by resources and expertise that inspires countless art and design projects throughout RISD.

The Materials Scientist supports and guides activity related to RISD’s innovation in material development and in partnership with Hyundai Motor Group. This position within the Nature Lab supports the work of faculty, departments and students, and provides essential support to ongoing HMG|RISD studio and workshop activities that foster art|design inquiry and innovation based on biology and living systems.

We seek a culturally competent candidate who will thrive in a campus environment that is committed to advancing the principles of social equity and inclusion, environmental and climate justice, and equal access to resources and opportunities.

Essential Functions:

  • Support the development and analysis of new and existing bio-based materials using green chemistry with an emphasis on circularity and sustainability.
  • Support RISD faculty, students and staff across all divisions (e.g. Ceramics, Design Engineering, Textiles, Nature-Culture-Sustainability) on material investigations, recommendations, testing, and utilization.
  • Recommend additional recipes and samples appropriate to the RISD community. Work closely with Hyundai Biology Faculty and Hyundai Biological Programs Fellow to support innovation and experimentation on biomimicry processes as it pertains to material research and development within the Hyundai-RISD programs.
  • Develop and optimize material testing protocols.
  • Maintain detailed and accurate documentation and archive of material data (ie procedures and protocols, analysis reports, applications, etc.)
  • Maintain Nature Lab materials-related lab equipment and resources.
  • Oversee graduate assistants assigned to biomaterials work at the Lab.
  • Oversee and further develop biomaterials resources and library.
  • Support HMG visiting engineers and designers on material explorations, analysis, and testing.
  • Provide critical feedback to HMG program participants.

Additional Functions:

  • Work closely with the Nature Lab Director, Public Safety, and Environmental Health and Safety to support a safe and secure working environment.
  • Assist the Director with other projects, programs and functions of the Nature Lab, in support of its mission, as directed. Complete other related duties as assigned.
  • Support students in their inquiries, lecture as needed
  • Attend critiques and reviews of HMG program student participants.

Required Knowledge/Skills/Experience

  • Commitment to centering inclusivity, diversity and equity in executing key responsibilities.
  • Demonstrated experience with a broad range of materials used across art and design, with emphasis on bio-based materials, green chemistry and sustainability through circularity.
  • Experience in higher education research projects.
  • Experience with higher education program implementation with students and faculty.
  • Computer experience required for maintaining records, schedules and data entry.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work collaboratively and flexibly in a service-oriented environment.
  • Must be able to give attention to detail as well as foster an inspirational learning environment.
  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a team.
  • Master’s degree or higher in material science, chemistry, biochemistry, or other related field with a focus on materials development and testing.
  • Minimum of three (3) years experience in physical, chemical and/or mechanical testing such as weathering and tensile/compression tests in accordance with ASTM standards.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Training and/or experience in biodesign and the demonstrated ability to comprehend the connections between, and to advocate for, the study of both art/design and science in a natural science setting, strongly preferred.
  • Experience processing raw materials to be used in bio-based material recipes.
  • Demonstrated teaching experience in either formal or informal learning settings.
  • Experience supervising students or other personnel in an educational setting.

13 Waterman Street
Providence, RI — 02903


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The RISD Nature Lab is an EPSCoR|C-AIM Core Research Facility supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #OIA-1655221 and EAGER Grant Award #1723559. ​​​Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this site are those of the Nature Lab and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.​

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