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Entrepreneurial Program Lead, Chain Reaction Innovations
Requisition Number: 404035 Location: Lemont, IL
Functional Area: General Business Management Division: STP-Science and Technology Partnerships and Outreach
Employment Category: Regular Shift: 8:30 - 5:00
Level (Grade): PT3
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In this new position, the Entrepreneurial Program Lead for Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) plays a key role in the success and future growth of CRI, working with the innovators and their host scientists on a day-to-day basis as well as developing and implementing CRI’s programming that is focused on helping CRI’s innovators develop the necessary business skilled needed to translate their innovations toward towards market acceptance. The position also requires working with mentors and institutions in the regional innovation ecosystem, in particular with programs similar to CRI focused on entrepreneurship and startups.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: 

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to develop productive collaborations with sponsors, senior management, other academic/scientific organizations, and the private sector.
  • Proficiency in a scientific area matching those as typical for PhD or Postdoc candidates, preferred not required.
  • Understanding of the innovation system and challenges that startups face.
  • Familiarity with the basic elements of programming commonly found in startup incubators & accelerators.
  • Ability in identifying, cultivating and forming relationships, within Argonne and external to Argonne.
  • Ability to appropriately communicate sensitive information and to judge how and with whom this information should be shared.
  • Ability and willingness to share credit for successes and encourage the integration of others’ ideas and proposals.
  • Knowledge of the structure and function of the US national laboratories and the Department of Energy.
  • Knowledge of the process for planning and performing research, and the administration of complex scientific programs.
  • Skill in the analysis and assessment of technical issues, programs, and policies, and the written and oral communication of ideas, concepts, technical results and aspirations.
  • Familiarity with responding to calls for proposals like SBIRs and other solicitations that support small businesses.

Experience with (preferred in one of the following areas):

  • Development of energy technologies and maturing them towards commercial applications
  • Energy-related manufacturing science & engineering.
  • Industry, understanding how market needs drive product innovation in an industrial setting
  • Knowledge of research areas in the Argonne portfolio, preferred.
  • Startups, as either a member of the founding team or as an early employee.
  • University-based incubators and similar innovation centers & hubs in the Chicago region and/or nationally.
  • Academic, government, and industrial partners or potential partners as their missions and work relates to Argonne technology research strengths.
  • Interacting with private industry and/or federal sponsors in the basic and applied science space.


  • Education background reflecting those that have obtained a PhD.
  • Familiarity with the investment community in the Chicago region and nationally.
  • Ability to expand and develop further a robust network of mentors & advisors for energy-related startups.
  • Familiarity with the specific challenges faced by hardware-based energy startups in the context of raising funds from private sources to drive both business development and technical development for both commercial success and a successful exit for investors.


  • Master’s degree in the physical sciences, material sciences or related field with a minimum of 3+ years of experience in R&D, preferable in either the public, private and/or startup sector.

As an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer, Argonne National Laboratory is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace that fosters collaborative scientific discovery and innovation. In support of this commitment, Argonne encourages minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities to apply for employment. Argonne considers all qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, ancestry, citizenship status, color, disability, gender, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.

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