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Sustainable Packaging Lead Materials Scientist



Providence, RI, USA
Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 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 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.

[Link to relevant article]:

[Business Context] –

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 our world-class ‘Future Packaging Technologies’ team, you will lead and execute a fibre-based packaging program, delivering new paper and cellulosic fibre insights through the application of novel paper technologies that will support the delivery of affordable superior fibre-based solutions across Unilever’s flexible and rigid packaging portfolio. The key accountabilities for the role holder are as follows:


  • Lead and build the paper/fibre technology capability strategy, program and roadmap that will accelerate the delivery of novel paper-based flexibles and rigid packaging projects to the global business.
  • Lead and further develop our paper/fibres partner ecosystem to enable the creation of a world-class paper science base that translates insights into affordable solutions deployable into the business groups.
  • Lead and execute the ‘Freedom to Operate’ & IP strategy for paper substrates and fibre feedstocks, for flexible packaging formats in collaboration with program leaders.
  • Extend existing connections (in and beyond R&D) and engagements across central packaging including external partners to drive greater impact and value from the program.
  • Lead the paper packaging community of practise, supporting relevant training and best practice guidance in collaboration with the wider R&D teams and provide recommendations on testing protocols related to the validation and scalability of novel paper-based packaging technologies.
  • Build and lead paper feedstock and fibre source specification definition for flexible packaging applications across Unilever.


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.

Candidate Profile

  • 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 Qualifications and Experience

  • A Postgraduate or an individual with professional experience in Paper Technology / Science / Engineering with strong in-depth experience in fibre based (paper) materials.
  • 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.
  • A proven track record of implementing new technologies to deliver disruptive innovations.
  • 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.

Key competencies:

  • Growth Mindset.
  • Transformational mindset.
  • Bias for Action.
  • Building talent and teams.
  • Consumer and customer focus.

What we offer:

  • Be part of a diverse, inclusive, high-performing and ambitious team shaping the future of packaging.
  • The opportunity to work at the forefront of a packaging revolution in materials, in-silico simulation and automation plus all the benefits you’d expect from a world leading organisation.

Unilever is an organization committed to diversity and inclusion to drive our business results and create a better future every day for our diverse employees, global consumers, partners, and communities. We believe a diverse workforce allows us to match our growth ambitions and drive inclusion across the business. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, or protected veteran status and will not be discriminated against on the basis of disability


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. You’ll have the opportunity to work directly with our renowned and exciting brands in a flexible and hybrid working environment.

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.

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!