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Sustainable Packaging Lead Materials Scientist (Coatings)



Providence, RI, USA
Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2024

JOB TITLE Sustainable Packaging Lead Materials Scientist (Coatings)

LOCATION Port Sunlight Research Lab


Unilever is committed to creating a Waste-Free World through its ambitious Packaging Strategy – We are taking on the toughest challenges to make our vision a reality. We are re-inventing our product packaging and materials to craft the sustainability journey towards our ambition of a circular, waste-free and net zero future. To achieve these goals, we need completely new packaging materials and technologies that are yet to be discovered. Our industry-leading material science programme strives to change our industry for good, transforming the traditional packaging sector into a next-generation technical industry where entrepreneurial passion meets science-backed innovations.

We are looking for a creative, dedicated and ambitious individual with an innovative mindset who shares our passion for the challenge.

The One Packaging R&D Centre aims to create a waste free, net zero packaging portfolio through a world class packaging materials capability with strong partnerships and ecosystems. The Centre will enable and accelerate the creation of novel packaging solutions to help meet Unilever’s packaging ambitions and completely revolutionize our packaging with a particular focus on our flexibles portfolio. It is the place where future scientific leaders of the business are created. We are a high-performing, diverse and inclusive team of dynamic entrepreneurial people with a strong scientific background, courage and curiosity, and passion for sustainability and delivery that will have a positive impact on the planet.


As part of the world-class Advanced Materials team, you will lead and execute a coatings program, delivering new coatings insights and coating technologies that will support the delivery of sustainable solutions for our packaging portfolio.

  • Lead and build a world-class flexible packaging coatings capability, with particular focus on polymeric and composite coatings for use as heat seal lacquers, primers, barrier coatings, protective coatings, over print varnishes and functional coatings.

  • Work independently and motivate and lead others ensuring the execution and delivery of the coatings programme.

  • Design, develop and deliver a pipeline of disruptive, game-changing multilayer polymeric and composite coating solutions to help tackle Unilever’s packaging waste challenge.

  • Liaise with packaging teams in different areas of the business to identify opportunities and support the development and delivery of our sustainable flexible packaging solutions across different product & pack formats.

  • Lead the validation of coating technologies within multilayer constructs through scale-up trials to assess supply chain compatibility of proposed solutions.

  • Help drive the development of cross-industry partnerships and ecosystems to deliver coatings innovations and maximise our impact.

  • Develop and maintain strong links across the multi-disciplinary project teams within packaging and R&D, industrial partners, and academic groups globally; identifying and tackling opportunities.

  • Lead and execute the IP strategy for coatings, coordinating with technology leaders.

  • Support relevant training and best practice guidelines in collaboration with the wider team, providing recommendations to the team for testing, validation and scalability of novel coating technologies for packaging.


We are looking for someone that shares our passion for innovation, applied material science and sustainability, and the drive to take our packaging portfolio to the next level. You will be part of a multi-disciplinary project team ethos where everybody contributes to achieving the same goal.


  • You will lead a technical team and sit within our leadership team to help create & deliver our strategic flexible packaging programme for the future.

  • Must be creative, highly passionate, willing to think big and inspire both the team and its stakeholders and customers.

  • Must be flexible (operate comfortably with uncertainty), agile, challenge the status quo, and embrace transformational change.

  • Results-driven leader with a strong people-oriented mindset to foster talent development while delivering value-added technologies with high business impact.

  • Good decision-making and delivering effectively to deadlines.

  • Committed to continually develop your scientific, and competency skills.

Technical Qualifications and Experience

  • A higher-education qualification in Materials/Polymer Sciences/Chemistry/Engineering or a closely related discipline with relevant expertise in applied material science.

  • Considerable industrial experience in the application of solvent-based or water-based polymeric or composite coatings.

  • Ideally experience in the application of paper coatings.

  • Ideally a Masters and/or PhD in the application of polymeric or composite coating technologies.

  • Experience of working on industrial innovation projects in applied R&D.

  • A proven track record of implementing material science to deliver disruptive innovations.

  • Ability to develop strong networks and ecosystems with industrial partners and academic institutions.

  • Pro-activity and team-working in multidisciplinary teams, with strong collaboration skills

  • Ability to deliver technical work plans in innovation projects, and technical solutions to business challenges and opportunities.

  • Excellent presentation and communication skills (written and verbal English) with an ability to bring technologies and innovations to life in a clear and engaging way.

  • Excellent organisational skills.


About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2 billion consumers a day. Unilever has more than 400 brands found in homes around the world, including Dove, Tresemme, Lynx, Lifebuoy, Shea Moisture, Persil, Domestos, Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum, Marmite, The Vegetarian Butcher, Graze and Pot Noodle.

Faced with the challenge of climate change and the need for human development, we want to move towards a world where everyone can live well and within the natural limits of the planet. That’s why our purpose is ‘to make sustainable living commonplace’

What We Offer

Not only do we offer a competitive salary and pension scheme, we also offer an annual bonus, subsidised gym membership, a discounted staff shop and shares.

We are a key advocate of wellbeing and offer a variety of support for our people including hubs, programmes and development opportunities. We strive to achieve a family-friendly and inclusive workplace and to, above all, create possibilities for all.

Diversity at Unilever is about inclusion, embracing differences, creating possibilities, and growing together for better business performance. We want to push boundaries, and have the flexibility needed to keep adapting in an ever-changing, more dynamic world. This means giving full and fair consideration to all applicants, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.

As part of your hiring journey, we are happy to support requests for reasonable adjustments, to improve your recruitment experience.

To find out more, including more information about our Employee Resource Groups, please click here.

Recruitment Fraud

Cyber criminals advertise fake job adverts with prestigious employers as a way of stealing information or even defrauding individuals out of money. In the most sophisticated cases, they will set up fake websites, which have a similar address to companies like Unilever. They even conduct fake telephone interviews and then offer candidates a role with the proviso they pay a fee for background checks or to cover work visa costs. These types of attacks are becoming more common as more people are looking for employment in the economic climate.

How is Unilever tackling this?

Many of Unilever’s recruitment sites publish a warning to candidates about recruitment fraud. The Cyber Security team also proactively scan for signs of people setting up fake Unilever sites and act to close them down.

What can I do?

If you become aware of potential recruitment fraud, spot fake Unilever recruitment adverts or fake LinkedIn profiles, report them via Una Live Chat.

Unilever does not accept responsibility or liability for any candidates who are financially impacted by recruitment fraud. Your vigilance is key!