Assistant Professor - Sustainable Packaging

Job Details

Assistant Professor - Sustainable Packaging

Clemson University
Open Date:
Jun 9, 2022

The Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences (FNPS) is seeking a visionary researcher and teacher to become the globally recognized expert on sustainable packaging.

Clemson University has much of the infrastructure required to be successful in converting bio- and mono-polymer structures into functional packages that reduce dependence on multi-layer flexible and rigid plastic packaging.

Clemson University is an R1 Research institution, with comprehensive and state-of-the-art resources. FNPS staffed laboratories include material analysis, cast and blown film production, extrusion blown molding, injection molding, semi-rigid plastic packaging conversion, thermoforming, lamination, and much more. Campus includes a fully equipped machine shop to customize tooling, a dynamics lab to test structures for transport, food and thermal processing laboratories, wet lab nutrition analysis labs, shelf-life analysis capabilities, food safety, and health experts. FNPS design and prototyping capabilities are second to none, helping translate new materials into market-ready concepts. Packaging analytical equipment includes: DSC, TMA, TGA, Instron universal testing machine, coefficient of friction, contact angle, FTIR, melt indexer, haze meter, gloss meter, hot tack tester, heat sealers, impulse sealers, induction sealer, Elmendorf tear testing, dart drop testing, environmental impact software, and an extensive list of packaging industry relationships.

The successful candidate for this position will focus 75% of their time on the research to help transform post-consumer plastic packaging and/or food waste into value added packaging materials. The remaining 25% of time will focus on developing and teaching an undergraduate and graduate course, ensuring students understand innovations in sustainability and how to measure environmental impacts.

The successful candidate is expected to:

• Develop different bio- and mono- polymer structures which can be converted into flexible (pouches, films, sachets), rigid (blown and injection molded), and semi-rigid (thermoformed) packaging structures.

• Partner with the following groups on project and research grant opportunities:

  • Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences
  • Material Science and Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences
  • Chemistry

• Obtain grants and industrial contracts with packaging manufactures and suppliers

• Publish work in relevant peer-reviewed journals

• Develop and instruct courses in sustainable packaging

• Research methods to reduce food waste and single use plastics

• Develop expertise in, and obtain equipment for, chemical and mechanical recycling processes



Ph.D. in Chemistry, Polymer Science, Material Science, or a closely related field, with experience in developing polymer-based products

Experience in mono-materials and bio-materials

Expertise in research methods relevant polymer production, processing, and manufacturing.

Preferred experience in packaging sustainability, food waste and single-use plastics reduction, and chemical recycling

Demonstrated ability to publish in international peer-reviewed scientific journals. Capability to work proactively within collaborative, multi-disciplinary teams is critical.

Experience in proposal preparation and project management.

Excellent communication skills (oral & written) are essential.

Application Instructions:

Application Instructions

Please submit the following items electronically (PDF format) via Interfolio

Letter describing interest in and qualifications for the position

A one-page statement of research interest, experience, and vision to achieve stated goals

A statement describing experience and/or future plans to promote diversity and inclusion

Unofficial undergraduate and graduate transcripts (official transcripts will be needed before an offer is made)

Personality statement (help us understand your working and collaboration style using Myers-Briggs, DISC, or personal reflection)

Full curriculum vitae

Name, address, email, and phone number of three professional references (references will not be contacted by the search committee until after an in-person campus interview has occurred)

Any questions should be addressed to Dr. Andrew Hurley, Search Committee Chair ([email protected]).

To receive full consideration, applications must be received by August 15, 2022. The position will remain open until filled. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until a suitable candidate is identified.

Anticipated start date is January, 2023.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:
Clemson University is an AA/EEO employer and does not discriminate against any person or group on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, pregnancy, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or genetic information. Clemson University is building a culturally diverse faculty and staff committed to working in a multicultural environment and encourages applications from minorities and women.


Working at Clemson University

Clemson is a dynamic research university located in Upstate South Carolina at the center of the booming I-85 corridor between Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga. One of the nation’s most selective public research universities according to U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Clemson University is the school of choice among top students in South Carolina and is increasingly competitive for the best students in the region and the nation. More than 17,100 students select from 70 undergraduate and 100 graduate degree programs through five academic colleges: Agriculture, Forestry and Life SciencesArchitecture, Arts and HumanitiesBusiness and Behavioral ScienceEngineering and Science; and Health, Education and Human Development.

Clemson’s transformation into a leading research institution — currently attracting in excess of $140 million in externally funded research and sponsored program awards per year — is based upon an academic plan that identifies eight emphasis areas in which the University has opportunities to increase education and research, to align with South Carolina’s economic development needs and to draw upon faculty strengths. Emphasis areas include automotive and transportation technology, advanced materials, biotechnology and biomedical sciences, leadership and entrepreneurship, sustainable environment, information and communication technology, family and community living, and general education.

Major economic development initiatives that have emerged from the academic plan include the Clemson International Center for Automotive Research — a 250-acre campus in Greenville, which has generated more than $225 million in public and private commitments in just four years; an advanced materials initiative at the Clemson Research Park, which includes a new LEED Silver-certified facility; and the South Carolina Health Sciences Collaborative — an initiative of the state’s three research universities and major health-care systems.

As the state’s land-grant university, Clemson reaches out to citizens, communities and businesses all over South Carolina. The Public Service Activities division includes the county-based Cooperative Extension Service, five off-campus research and education centers through the Clemson University Experiment Station and critical regulatory responsibilities for plant and animal health.

The University boasts a 1,400-acre campus on the shores of Lake Hartwell within view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Surrounding the campus are 18,000 acres of University farms and woodlands devoted to research. A warm campus environment, great weather and recreational activities offered by proximity to both the natural surroundings and large cities are part of the Clemson Experience.


Points of interest at Clemson include the following:

The Clemson Conference Center and Inn is a state-of-the-art facility for symposia, meetings, seminars and special events. The complex includes the Madren Continuing Education and Conference Center, the Walker Golf Course and the Martin Inn.

The South Carolina Botanical Garden, a 295-acre public garden, features several thousand varieties of ornamental plants and a unique collection of nature-based sculptures.

The Robert Howell Brooks Center for the Performing Arts brings an exciting array of concert, theater, dance, comedy and other live performances to the community.

The Robert Campbell Geology Museum at the Botanical Garden displays meteorites, minerals, dinosaur fossils and the largest faceted-stone collection in the Southeast.

The T. Ed Garrison Livestock Arena is a showplace for livestock activities in the state and has hosted horse and livestock shows, rodeos, sales, 4-H activities, educational programs, and industrial and agricultural exhibitions.

Fort Hill, the home of John C. Calhoun and later of his son-in-law, University founder Thomas Green Clemson, is a registered National Historic Landmark located in the center of campus.

The Class of 1944 Visitors Center is the front door to Clemson — a friendly place to get tours, information, assistance and an introduction to this beautiful, historic university and community.

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