First listed on: 30 July 2021

CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Genomics and Population Ecology


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 in molecular population genomics, eDNA-based genomics or relevant discipline?
  • Explore the biology of the tjakura (Great Desert Skink Liopholis kintorei) in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.  
  • 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 Postdoctoral Fellow will use “eDNA” methodology to address the biology of Australia's iconic but notoriously difficult to study tjakura (Great Desert Skink Liopholis kintorei) in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (UKTNP).  This little known, cryptic reptile of Australia’s central and western deserts has deep cultural significance to traditional owners of the lands on which it lives. The postdoctoral fellow will also be able to explore application of eDNA from other sources such as surface water, bird nests, and mammalian faecal material to bring new dimensions to our understanding of the ecology of this iconic arid zone region and develop techniques with possible application to other arid environments in Australia and overseas.

The project is a collaboration with Parks Australia (a division of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment that supports the Director of National Parks in managing Commonwealth parks and gardens), Australian National University and Indigenous traditional owners, community members, and ranger groups at UKTNP and the surrounding Katiti-Petermann IPA.

Your duties will include:

  • Working closely with members of research team to co-design and deliver the project. An essential aspect of this is to work collaboratively with the indigenous Anangu community and ranger groups, including involving Anangu people in fieldwork. A key part of this will also be communicating the project with the community, local schools and ranger groups to engage key stakeholder groups throughout the project.
  • Developing, validating and refining protocols for the collection and characterisation of eDNA from terrestrial environments in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (UKTNP) focusing on desert sand environments in and around tjakura burrows, from scats in their latrines, from surface water near burrows, and along transects away from burrows and latrines. This may include such techniques as qPCR and metabarcoding.
  • Conducting bioinformatic analysis on eDNA data collected from UKTNP.
  • Conducting statistical analysis addressing questions relating to burrow occupancy (number, demographic composition of individuals, relationship between time since fire and burrow occupancy), home range and dispersal, reproductive biology.

Location:   Canberra , ACT
Salary:  AU$88k - AU$96k plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure:  Specified term of 3 years
Reference:  76024

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as population genomics, eDNA-based genomics. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or part-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Experience in extracting and analysing eDNA from challenging sources and a demonstrated, sound grasp of population and conservation genetics.
  • Current driver’s license.
  • 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.
  • An ability to work with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities and their leaders, respecting traditional culture, values and ways of doing business.

For full details about this role please view the Position Description


To be eligible to for role, you must be an Australian/New Zealand Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or Australian temporary resident currently residing in Australia and be able to commence in the role by December 2021/January 2022.

The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check or equivalent. Additional integrity checks may be required for specific roles which require security clearance for working with children, Australian Government cybersecurity requirements or other identified security roles.

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 2021, 11:00pm AEST

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