Automation Engineer - Materials Discovery Research Institute

Location US-IL-Northbrook
Requisition Post Information* : Posted Date 3 weeks ago(9/13/2023 10:33 AM)
Job ID
# of Openings
Job Category
Level 2
NFP Research


NFP UL Research Institutes

At UL, we know why we come to work.

The Material Discovery Research Institute (MDRI), of Underwriters Laboratories Research Institutes, is recruiting an Automation Engineer. This position is located in our Skokie, IL labs.


In this role, the Automation Engineer will design, develop, implement, and maintain automated systems that facilitate the efficient execution of high-throughput chemical synthesis experiments, integrating cutting-edge AI technologies. The Automation Engineer will work at the intersection of chemistry, automation, and software development to advance our research objectives.


At Underwriters Laboratories, we wake up every day with a common purpose: to make the world a safer, more secure and sustainable place. Science is in our DNA; we are endlessly curious and passionate about seeking and speaking the truth. We take delight in knowing that our work makes a meaningful contribution to society, and we are proud that our culture is centered on integrity, collaboration, inclusion and excellence. Underwriters Laboratories stands at the forefront of technological advancement, and we are continually challenged to find new ways to foster innovation and positive change. Satisfying? Yes. Exciting? Absolutely!


UL has COVID-19 protocols and policies in place to ensure the safety of our employees, customers and clients. Effective November 1, 2021, the company mandates that employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment (except where prohibited by law), subject to reasonable accommodation as required by law. 

What you’ll learn & achieve:

  • Design, develop, and implement automated workflows for high-throughput chemical synthesis experiments, utilizing robotic systems and software.
  • Collaborate closely with cross-functional teams, including synthetic chemists, data scientists, and software engineers, to ensure seamless integration of automation systems.
  • Program and configure robotic platforms and other automated equipment to execute experimental protocols.
  • Optimize and troubleshoot automated processes to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and reliability of high-throughput synthesis operations.
  • Interface with data and software engineers to create intuitive user interfaces and control systems for automated equipment.
  • Monitor and maintain automated systems, diagnosing technical issues and performing necessary repairs and upgrades.
  • Ensure compliance with safety protocols and industry regulations related to automated lab processes.
  • Keep abreast of advancements in automation technologies, identifying opportunities to enhance lab capabilities.
  • Contribute towards the publication of research papers, technical reports, and patent applications, representing MDRI in the scientific community and at industry events.
  • Perform other duties as directed.

What makes you a great fit:

  • Strong knowledge of materials chemistry workflows, including synthesis and characterization, and their evaluation.
  • Familiarity with high-throughput combinatorial chemistry methodologies.
  • Proficiency in programming languages commonly used in automation, such as Python, C++, or LabVIEW.
  • Familiarity with robotic platforms
  • Strong attention to detail and problem-solving skills and the ability to troubleshoot technical issues.
  • Knowledge of AI and machine learning concepts is a plus.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in delivering technical presentations and achieving peer-reviewed scientific journal publications.
  • Strong problem-solving skills, including the ability to identify root causes, develop practical solutions, and collaborate with colleagues.
  • Excellent time and project management skills to handle multiple projects simultaneously with the ability to adapt to new challenges quickly.
  • Positive and collaborative attitude with exceptional interpersonal skills for effective teamwork across the organization.
  • High degree of curiosity to learn about the mission and impact of the organization and its specialized areas.
  • Excellent written, oral communication, and presentation skills.
  • Ability to thrive in an innovative environment.

Experience and Education Requirements

  • PhD degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or Materials Chemistry or equivalent field of study.
  • Proven experience in designing and implementing automated systems, ideally in a laboratory or research setting.

What you’ll experience working at UL:

  • Mission: For UL, corporate and social responsibility isn’t new. Making the world a safer, more secure and sustainable place has been our business model for the last 129 years and is deeply ingrained in everything we do.
  • People: Ask any UL employee what they love most about working here, and you’ll almost always hear, “the people.” Going beyond what is possible is the standard at UL. We’re able to deliver the best because we employ the best.
  • Interesting work: Every day is different for us here as we eagerly anticipate the next innovation that our customers’ create. We’re inspired to take on the challenge that will transform how people live, work and play.
  • Grow & achieve: We learn, work and grow together with targeted development, reward and recognition programs as well as our very own UL University that offers extensive training programs for employees at all stages, including a technical training track for applicable roles.
  • Total Rewards: All employees at UL are eligible for bonus compensation. We offer a generous 401k matching structure of up to 5% of eligible pay. Additionally, we invest an additional 4% into your retirement saving fund after your first year of continuous employment. We provide Healthcare Reimbursement Accounts and Health Savings Accounts that UL contributes to twice per year! Depending on your role, you can work with your manager on flexible working arrangements. We also provide employees with paid time off including vacation, holiday, sick and volunteer time off.

Learn More:

UL Research Institutes is an affiliated nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing safety science research through the discovery and application of scientific knowledge. We conduct rigorous independent research and analyze safety data, convene experts worldwide to address risks, share knowledge through safety education and public outreach initiatives, and develop standards to guide safe commercialization of evolving technologies. We foster communities of safety, from grassroots initiatives for neighborhoods to summits of world leaders. Our organization employs collaborative and scientific approaches with partners and stakeholders to drive innovation and progress toward improving safety, security, and sustainability, ultimately enhancing societal well-being.


Our wholly owned subsidiary, UL Inc., advances our shared public safety mission. We fund our work through grants, the licensing of standards documents and the business activities of UL Inc., which conducts testing, verification and certification, and provides training and advisory services, along with data-driven reporting and decision-making tools for customers around the world.


To learn more, visit our websites and


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