Director of the Advanced Biofuels & Bioproducts Process Development

Berkeley Lab’s Biological Systems and Engineering Division has an opening for the Director of the Advanced Biofuels & Bioproducts Process Development Unit.  The Advanced Biofuels & Bioproducts Process Development Unit (ABPDU) is a US Dept. of Energy (DOE)-supported facility that enables academic, National Lab, and industrial researchers from across the world to optimize and scale-up processes for the production of biofuels and bioproducts. This enables the transition from the laboratory bench to pilot-scale and can lead to potential feasibility for meaningful industrial levels of production. The ABPDU is sponsored by DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office as part of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and is located at an off-site location in Emeryville, CA. The ABPDU carries out most, if not all, of the unit operations involved in industrial biotechnology, including biomass and feedstock analysis, pretreatment, and processing; enzymatic saccharification; fermentation; cell-free biocatalysis; thermochemical catalysis; intermediate separations and recovery; and final product purification, quantification, and analysis. The Program Head and Director of the ABPDU will be charged with leading a diverse team of scientists and engineers, as well as developing and implementing a strategic vision for the facility to become a world-class facility that enables the development and growth of the US bioeconomy. The Program Head will also be charged with stewarding, strengthening, and diversifying the ABPDU’s existing portfolio of programs with national laboratories, universities, and companies. The Program Head will be responsible for all facets of the ABPDU operation including business development, schedules and scope, contract operations management, personnel management, facility budget management, maintenance, safety, and expansion project implementation. You will lead the strategic direction and development which include all aspects of the user interface. In order to accomplish this, the Program Head will develop new organizational models for rapidly advancing innovation within the framework of a National Lab and will develop new initiatives, a clear set of principles for action, and affect a culture change. In this highly visible role, the incumbent will continue to build the ABPDU facility and provide leadership to the technical team. You will be a hands-on leader with experience in the operation of pilot-scale biochemical, chemical or pharmaceutical processes. This position has accountability for strategic planning, budgets, funding, workforce planning, Human Resources, Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S), property, and facilities management, and ensures the integrity and ethical conduct of all operational activities and research protocols.



What You Will Do:


Business Development, Outreach & Strategic Planning


  • Continually develop and extend ABPDU portfolio of proposals, projects and funding opportunities addressing the strategic priorities of DOE, LBNL, and industry.


    Develops the strategic plan for the ABPDU, technical, and operational support.


    In collaboration with Division Management, reviews organizational structure and programs to ensure they support the short-term and long-term strategic objectives of DOE and LBNL.


    Identifies critical research collaborations with companies, fellow national laboratories, other Berkeley Lab scientific disciplines, and academic institutions.


    Actively seek and write applications for competitive grants and contractual research agreements; collaborate with internal and external partners to develop research proposals and collaborative research agreements, develop protocols and provide reports to clients and funding agencies.


    Define and implement a technical strategy to deliver against DOE objectives and manage the DOE AOP process for the ABPDU facility.


    Develop strong relationships with the Biofuels and Biomanufacturing community.


    Develop and maintain strong relationship with the DOE sponsor office



Scientific and Technical Leadership


  • Actively ensures that the ABPDU programs and research are aligned with the primary strategic objectives at the Lab, the Biosciences Area and the Biological Systems and Engineering (BSE) Division.


    Acts as chief spokesperson for the ABPDU to the University, DOE, external agencies and internal groups.


    Designs, develops and articulates the ABPDU’s long-term and short-term scientific/technical project and program goals.


    Manages direct report manager(s) responsible for ABPDU operations.


    Provide research and development and administrative leadership for the ABPDU.


    Establish and maintain a reputation for excellence in operations and research for the ABPDU.


    Provide technical supervision for all customers and grant-funded projects.


    Provide technical leadership, develop talent and provide and maintain a succession plan for the unit.


    Maintain a high performing team of analytical, pre-treatment and fermentation experts that is aligned to the strategy of the ABPDU.


    Ensure that all milestones are met, appropriate data is collected and data quality objectives are achieved.


    Actively participate and supervise the engineering design of all modifications needed to meet client or grant-funded objectives; in collaboration with Engineering and BSE Management, identify equipment and instrumentation needed to allow the ABPDU to meet the research needs of funded projects.



Operations Management


  • In collaboration with Division Management, develops short-term and long-term financial strategies to ensure proper funding levels and evaluates new funding sources and oversees the preparation and development of the annual budget plan.


    Ensures adherence to appropriate financial, procurement, budget, property, and accounting policies, procedures, and protocols including oversight of all project budgets.


    Ensures proper management of HR responsibilities (e.g., salary administration, staffing, performance management, diversity, employee development, etc.).


    Leads by example to proactively promote principles of diversity and ensure compliance with EEO/AA requirements and best practices.


    Ensures a safe and reliable operation of the facility and maintain current SOPs.


    Ensures the ABPDU is in compliance with all aspects of business, environment, safety and health requirements, including all applicable DOE, LBNL and UC Policies and Procedures.


    Conducts routine safety inspections and analysis of work plans, ensure ABPDU employees and Affiliates are current in Job Hazards Analysis and Training requirements.





  • Effectively communicates relevant information to key stakeholders both internal and external to the Laboratory.


    Leads communications strategies across for the ABPDU programs and initiatives.


    Holds regular meetings (e.g. monthly) with direct reports and ensures the effective collaborations and integration of ABPDU programs.



What is Required:


  • Ph.D. or equivalent experience in Chemical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry or related disciplines and/or MBA with a technical degree and significant (minimum 10 years) related industry experience.


    Demonstrated experience in the design and operation of chemical, biotechnology or pharmaceutical production facilities, including successful experience as a Plant Manager or similar position.


    Track record in successful grant proposal writing and collaborative project and program development with industry, academic, and National Laboratory partners


    Demonstrated technical publication expertise in patent applications as well as peer-reviewed journals


    Extensive experience in the leadership of scientific research projects and management of scientific, engineering and technical staff.


    Proven experience translating technical opportunities as well as adapting and creating best practices.


    Experience leading and managing a multi-disciplined operational, scientific and/or engineering research program


    Experience in developing a strategic plan, making high-level strategic decisions and representing a multi-disciplined operational or scientific program to both internal and external management.


    Experience managing administrative activities for an organization including fiscal responsibilities, Human Resources, property management, EH&S, and facilities management.



Additional Desired Qualifications:


  • Demonstrated intellectual leadership and critical thinking skills. Must be intuitive and possess the ability to challenge the status quo and find synergy from different ideas and approaches.


    Must have a proven track record as a visionary yet practical leader with the ability to envision better ways to accomplish objectives, lead the implementation of ideas, create opportunities, and mitigate constraints affecting success.


    Must be a proven manager with an extensive understanding of the issues and challenges of running an organization.


    Demonstrated people, project, and budget management.


    Track record of collaborative and decisive decision making while exercising sound judgment to evaluate and take acceptable risks.


    Demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects and tasks in parallel and meet programmatic and project milestones.


    Experience in establishing and maintaining external collaborations and interactions with a diverse group of researchers.


    Experience in leading teams in a complex environment with a solid track record of successful project management in an open interpersonal and leadership style capable of working in multiple multifunctional and matrix-based teams.


    Experience with personnel management (hiring, performance management, counseling, and coaching and salary administration).


    Extensive organizational skills and excellent written and verbal communication skills are a must. Demonstrated ability to attract funding from federal and other sources. - Experience and understanding of biofuels and bioproducts production processes.


    Demonstrated leadership of fermentation-, chemical-, and/or hybrid process-based product development.


    Must be able to travel extensively as required.



The posting shall remain open until the position is filled.





  • This is a full time, career appointment.


    Full-time, M-F, exempt (monthly paid) from overtime pay.


  • Salary is commensurate with experience.


    This position may be subject to a background check. Any convictions will be evaluated to determine if they directly relate to the responsibilities and requirements of the position. Having a conviction history will not automatically disqualify an applicant from being considered for employment.


    Work will be primarily performed at Advanced Biofuels & Bioproducts Process Development Unit (ABPBU) — Bldg. 978, 5885 Hollis St., 3rd floor, Emeryville, CA.



Berkeley Lab (LBNL) addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.



Equal Employment Opportunity: Berkeley Lab is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. Berkeley Lab is in compliance with the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision under 41 CFR 60-1.4.  Click here to view the poster and supplement: "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law."