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Sustainable Packaging Lead Materials Scientist



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

JOB TITLE Sustainable Packaging Lead Materials Scientist

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 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.


Be part of our world-class ‘Future Packaging Technologies’ team with deep technical expertise in materials science, as an enabler to leading the industry agenda and the creation of a waste-free packaging portfolio.

The key accountabilities for the role holder are as follows:-

  • Further build a world-class packaging capability in Material Science.

  • Drive the consolidation and delivery of the Disruptive Packaging Materials program into the business.

  • Lead the development of cross-industry partnerships and ecosystems to deliver packaging innovations and maximise our impact into the Categories and their product portfolio.

  • Design, develop and deliver through others a pipeline of disruptive, game-changing technologies to tackle packaging waste challenge, executing the Disruptive Packaging Materials programme.

  • Work independently and motivate and lead others ensuring the delivery of the Disruptive Packaging Materials program.

  • 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 elements of the execution of our Intellectual Property and ‘Freedom to Operate’ Strategy.


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 and deliver our strategic packaging programme for the future.

  • Must be creative, highly passionate, willing to think big and inspire both the team and our stakeholders and internal 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 Skills and Competencies

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

  • Considerable experience in collaborating with multi-disciplinary teams in the development of high impact innovative solutions.

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

  • Ability to develop strong networks and ecosystems with industrial partners and/or 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.

Whilst the role is advertised on a full-time basis, we would be happy to discuss possible flexible working options and what this may look like for you. 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.

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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!