Senior Polymer Scientist

Sway is a California biomaterials startup harnessing the power of seaweed to create compostable replacements for single-use plastics. We are focused on developing and scaling high-performance, seaweed-based, thin film LDPE replacements. Sway's technology drops into traditional plastic infrastructure, while simultaneously replenishing ocean health, sequestering carbon, promoting regenerative materials, and ultimately creating a more inclusive climate movement.

We are excited to add this key position to our product development and research teams and bring on a highly motivated polymer guru with top-notch experience in synthesizing novel materials. This role will be a key driver to our PD process, and lead the improvement and creation of novel seaweed-based material formulas. Successful candidates will have a passion for and experience with packaging and the principles of the circular economy. 

• Synthesize, design, formulate, and optimize bio-based polymer materials including, but not limited to, compatibility with reaction extrusion and blown film extrusion.
• Improve and characterize the material performance to meet critical product and market requirements.
• Serve as a subject matter expert (SME) in the area of polymer synthesis, areas of chemical engineering and material science, especially polymers and polymer processing.
• DOE with various bio-based polymers and additives to demonstrate technological progress.
• Design bio-based polymers for scale-up, and trial development. 
• Develop new methods as necessary in support of projects.
• Identify research opportunities based on emerging trends in the industry.
• Determine and advise on critical equipment, instrumentation, and resource needs. 
• Lead scientific team(s) and allocates resources effectively to ensure project completion in a timely fashion.
• Ensure safe and efficient laboratory operations, overseeing the necessary calibrations, maintenance of the laboratory equipment, safe handling of all chemicals and assisting with testing as needed.
• Focus on contributing a positive attitude, promoting a positive work environment, and a high degree of teamwork.
• Exhibit excellent safety leadership in the workplace.


• Ph.D in Polymer Chemistry, Polymer Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Material Science or an equivalent technical discipline.
• 3+ years industrial/academic (post-graduate) experience with bio-based polymers and polymer processing, including extrusion settings and packaging applications experience.

Minimum required: 
• MS degree in Polymer Chemistry, Polymer Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Material Science or a related technical discipline. 
• Minimum 10 years industrial experience with bio-based polymers and polymer processing, including packaging applications experience.

• Polymer synthesis experience is required. 
• Hands-on experience with various bio-based polymer materials for compatibility with extrusion (reaction, twin screw, blown film) is preferred.
• Background in biomaterials synthesis as well as a passion and knowledge of sustainability/circular economy principles a major plus.
• Supervisory experience – you’ve managed scientists, engineers, interns, and laboratory technicians.
• Demonstrated documentation and research skills.
• Highly self-motivated individual, focused on providing high quality laboratory data in an efficient manner, while exhibiting excellent workplace skills.
• Clear and informative written communication, effective presentation of numerical data.
• Strong oral communication, and the ability to speak clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; demonstrates presentation skills. 
• Problem solving skills and the ability to make competent, independent, decisions in a timely manner to ensure excellent progress on projects and assigned tasks.
• Ability to effectively manage multiple and or changing priorities with minimal supervision.

Familiarity and proficiency with a broad range of analytical, thermo-mechanical, and physical testing techniques.
A general understanding of sustainability and life cycle assessments.
Prior start-up experience is a big plus.

Opportunity to play a key role in a seed stage Berkeley-based startup with massive growth potential 
Excellent fixed salary + equity package
Ability to own major parts of an innovative supply chain strategy that will contribute to a healthier planet
An incredible team to support you
Medical + Dental Health Insurance
Relocation Support

Interested persons should send an email to with the subject line “Senior Polymer Scientist Application - Your Name.” In the message please include the name of your favorite sea creature along with an attached cover letter and resume/CV.


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