Sr R&D Scientist - RANEY(R) Catalysts

Date: Dec 1, 2023

Location: Columbia, MD, US, 21044

Company: W. R. Grace & Co.

Band Grade: 4-16


Job Description


Grace is seeking a Sr. R&D Scientist to join the RANEY® group within our Specialty Catalysts team! This role reports to the group manager located at our corporate headquarters in Columbia, MD. 


This role involves Research and Development in support of the RANEY® Catalyst business within the Chemical Catalysts segment at Grace. The successful candidate for this R&D role will work closely with Marketing, Sales, Process Technology and Manufacturing to invent, develop and introduce improved Raney® catalyst products as part of an integrated business team. This entails proposing new metal alloy compositions, converting them to active catalysts, and characterizing the surfaces of the catalysts and testing their performance in hydrogenation of organic compounds. Duties also include evaluating and helping to solve customer challenges with current products. There will be frequent collaboration with technicians and chemists involved in lab activities, as well as with other scientists throughout Grace. There is opportunity for direct contact with customers, requiring cooperative problem solving for new and existing products.



  • Independently designs and conducts experimental work plans to deliver results within business goal timelines.
  • Supervises lab experiments, safety and clean-up activities of technicians and chemists, and mentors these colleagues in career development.
  • Invents and/or develops new hydrogenation catalyst products, guided by customer performance criteria. 
  • Collaborates with Grace analytical colleagues to customize methods for catalyst testing using in-house hydrogenation capabilities.
  • Advises colleagues in the design of catalyst synthesis and hydrogenation performance testing experiments and interprets results which drive project trajectory.
  • Supports Customer Technical Service activities - including troubleshooting of existing products, and collaboration on testing of new products - in response to customers’ inquiries, coordinating with Sales and TCS Managers. This may involve occasional travel.
  • Evaluates and improves performance/cost balance of existing products, including (if needed) interactions with raw materials suppliers. 
  • Communicates with and supports Grace Manufacturing teams. 
  • Communicates upward, downward, and laterally within Grace, in written and verbal progress reports.
  • Represents the Grace scientific community externally at professional events.
  • Champions Grace’s safety culture both within R&D and across functions.
  • Flexible schedules are considered but this position is primarily on-site (non-remote).

Physical Requirements and Environment

  • Ability to follow safety protocols and standards working in a pilot plant facility with highly hazardous materials
  • Ability to follow safety protocols and standards working in a laboratory environment with highly hazardous materials

Required Qualifications


  • Chemical Engineering degree considered with +10 years’ industry experience with emphasis on chemical reaction development
  • Ph.D. Degree in Inorganic or Organic Chemistry, or related field.
  • 3 or more years of experience working in catalyst R&D in an industrial laboratory setting.
  • Excellent written and spoken English language skills.
  • Must be willing and able to wear, as needed, PPE (Personal Protective equipment) including (e.g.) hard hat, protective eyewear, lab coat, steel-toed boots, hearing protection.


Preferred Qualifications


  • Strong background in inorganic and organic synthetic methods.
  • Knowledge of metallurgical concepts or catalytic hydrogenation methods considered a plus.
  • Experience in analytical method development and characterization of inorganic materials, including specialized techniques for air-sensitive samples.
  • Experience in managing laboratory technicians.
  • Experience with industrial safety practices.
  • Experience in direct customer interaction. 
  • Extensive experience with plant scale-up and process troubleshooting.



  • Medical, Dental, Vision Insurance
  • Life Insurance and Disability 
  • Grace Wellness Program
  • Flexible Workplace 
  • Retirement Plans  
  • 401(k) Company Match – Dollar to dollar up to the first 6%
  • Paid Vacation and Holidays
  • Parental Leave (salaried only)
  • Tuition Reimbursement 
  • Company Donation Match Program

Grace is not accepting unsolicited assistance from search firms for this employment opportunity. Please, no phone calls or emails. All resumes submitted by search firms to any employee at Grace via email, the Internet or in any form and/or method without a valid written search agreement in place for this position will be deemed the sole property of Grace. No fee will be paid in the event the candidate is hired by Grace as a result of the referral or through other means.

Nearest Major Market: Baltimore