First listed on: 09 December 2018

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Responsible Innovation (Risk Governance of Synthetic Biology) 

  • Do you have (or are near completion of) a PhD in sociology, social science, STS, or similar?
  • Contribute to research in risk governance of synthetic biology
  • Kick-start your research career at Australia’s premier research organisation - CSIRO

The Position

Postdoctoral Fellowships at CSIRO provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years relevant postdoctoral work experience.  These fellowships will help launch their careers, provide experience that will enhance their career prospects, and facilitate the recruitment and development of potential leaders for CSIRO.

Postdoctoral Fellows are appointed for up to three years or part time equivalent and will work closely with a leading Research Scientist or Engineer in their respective field. They carry out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO with the possibility of novel and important scientific outcomes. They present the findings in appropriate publications and at conferences.

In this Postdoctoral Fellowship, you will be located with CSIRO’s Responsible Innovation (RI) Initiative. The RI Initiative is a research program that is designed to build social science capability in the comprehensive assessment of the benefits, risks and uncertainties posed by new areas of science and technology.  You will be part of a project that aims to assess whether existing social science methods and frameworks on responsible innovation are well equipped to identify and manage emerging risks and challenges of synthetic biology and frontier developments in the life sciences more broadly, and whether there are gaps which need to be addressed.

Your duties will include

  • Carrying out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO that will, where possible, lead to novel and important scientific outcomes.
  • Conducting a series of research activities (supported by career and skills development activities and active mentoring) to explore the risk governance of emerging science and technologies with specific reference to the broad domain of synthetic biology.
  • Undertaking regular reviews of relevant literature.
  • Producing high quality scientific papers suitable for publication in quality journals, and present those at conferences as agreed with your supervisor.

Location:  Brisbane (Dutton Park), QLD, Australia
Salary: AU$82k - AU$93k plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure:  Specified term of 3 years
Reference:  59364

To be successful you will need

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as sociology, social science, science and technology studies (STS) or similar discipline.

Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years of relevant postdoctoral experience.

  • Knowledge and skills in one or more of the following areas:
    • Governance of science and/or technologies;
    • Social risk assessment;
    • Societal aspects of science and/or technologies;
    • Institutional analysis of science and/or technologies.
  • Knowledge and skills in community and stakeholder engagement and/or deliberative processes.
  • The ability to collaborate and work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary research team, whilst having the discipline to work autonomously.

Applicants with experience in biology, life sciences, and/or responsible innovation will also be considered favourably.

For details about who to contact and for more information please view the Position Description.

We’re working hard to recruit diverse people and ensure all our people feel supported to do their best work and empowered to let their ideas flourish.


  1. Communication:  High level written and oral communication skills with the ability to represent the research team effectively internally and externally, including at national and international conferences.
  2. Publications:  A record of publications in quality, peer reviewed journals.
  3. Collaboration:  A history of professional and respectful behaviours and attitudes in a collaborative environment.

Flexible Working Arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. Talk to us about how this role could be flexible for you. Balance


At CSIRO you can be part of helping to solve big, complex problems that make a real difference to our future. We spark off each other, learn from each other, trust each other and collaborate to achieve more than we could individually in a supportive, rewarding, inclusive and truly flexible environment.

Apply Online

To apply online, please provide a CV and cover letter outlining your suitability and motivation for the role.

Applications Close: 20th January 2019

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