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CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Synthetic Biology for Rare Earth Element Bio-Extraction

Date: 25-Jul-2022

Location: Canberra, ACT, AU

Company: CSIRO

Acknowledgement of Country

CSIRO acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land, sea and waters, of the area that we live and work on across Australia. We acknowledge their continuing connection to their culture and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. View our vision towards reconciliation

The Opportunity


  • Do you have a PhD molecular microbiology, biochemistry, or synthetic biology?
  • Design new biotechnological methods to extract Rare Earth Elements (RRE)
  • Join CSIRO – Australia’s leading scientific research organisation!


CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Postdoctoral Fellowships provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years of relevant postdoctoral work experience. These fellowships aim to develop the next generation of future leaders of the innovation system.


The successful candidate will join an interdisciplinary team in a new project to design biotechnological methods for the extraction of Rare Earth Elements from recycled electronics and ores, including low-grade mining waste. The vision for this technology is that it will be environmentally sustainable, help increase the domestic supply of REE for critical technologies and support new Australian industry.


The Fellow will be based at our cutting-edge Synthetic Biology labs in Canberra, with opportunities to spend time with our biomining and bioprocess team in Perth and our leading edge BioFoundry based in Brisbane.

Your duties will include:


  • Developing new biotechnologies for the extraction of REE from a number of potential sources, including mining and electronics waste. 
  • Engineering biological components (proteins) with high avidity for REE and potentially tuning their specificity for specific REE.
  • Communicating research to a variety of stakeholders via appropriate written and oral presentations; including scientific publications, talks at conferences and potentially meetings with industry representatives.  
  • Recognising and utilising opportunities for innovation and the generation of new theoretical perspectives, and progress opportunities for the further development or creation of new lines of research


Location: Canberra, ACT

Salary: AU$89k - AU$98k plus up to 15.4% superannuation

Tenure: Specified term of 3 years

Reference: 85743

To be considered you will need:


  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as molecular microbiology, biochemistry, synthetic biology, or similar. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (full-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Highly developed expertise in molecular biology/synthetic biology, protein biochemistry and protein engineering.
  • Demonstrable experience in analytical chemistry techniques (e.g., HPLC, LC/GC-MS, ICPMS, NMR).
  • High level written and oral communication skills with the ability to represent the research team effectively internally and externally, including the presentation of research outcomes at national and international conferences. 


For full details about this role please view the Position Description


Applications for this position are open to Australian/New Zealand Citizens, Australian Permanent Residents or Australian temporary residents currently residing in Australia who are able to commence in the role by 31 January 2023.


Appointment to this role is subject to provision of a national police check and may be subject to other security/medical/character requirements.

Flexible Working Arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. 

Diversity and Inclusion

We are working hard to recruit people representing the diversity across our society, and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. 


At CSIRO Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else and earn trust everywhere because we only deal in facts. We collaborate widely and generously and deliver solutions with real impact. 

Join us and start creating tomorrow today!

How to Apply

Please apply on-line and provide a cover letter and CV that best demonstrate your motivation and ability to meet the requirements of this role.

Applications Close

31 August 2022, 11:00pm AEST