First listed on: 30 September 2022

CSIRO Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship in Plant Synthetic Biology


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 plant molecular biology, synthetic biology or metabolic engineering?
  • Keen to develop novel technologies to enable ultra-high-level expression of high value protein in plants?
  • Work with the Synthetic Traits group at CSIRO in this exciting postdoctoral role

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.

We are thrilled to be able to deliver on the commitment we made in our strategy to invest in frontier science with the CSIRO Agriculture & Food Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme. The name Winanga-y (pronounced win-na-gnay) is a cultural asset lent to us from the local Gamilaroi mob in Myall Vale. Winanga-y means to understand, know, remember, and think.  

The successful CERC Fellow will develop novel technologies to enable ultra-high-level expression of high value proteins in plants.  This project is driven by the growing demand for novel proteins in alternative food and pharmaceutical  industries, and urgency for more sustainable methods of protein production. Using synthetic biology and advanced plant breeding technologies, the CERC Fellow will drive the research, design, development and testing of novel plant protein expression systems. This will involve considerations of RNA optimisation, subcellular targeting, protein modelling and a range of downstream protein functional analyses.

The CERC Fellow will be supervised by Rob Allen (CSIRO Agriculture and Food) and will work in the Synthetic Traits group at CSIRO which brings together experts in synthetic biology, RNA technologies, protein, lipidomic and metabolic analysis and metabolic engineering. This project is aligned with the broader CSIRO Future Protein Mission, which spans several business units across CSIRO. Accordingly, the CERC Fellow will be well placed to build collaborative links with researchers with access to facilities and expertise across CSIRO.

Your duties will include:

  • Conducting research on concepts and methods to turbo-charge protein expression in various plant species, organelles, and tissues.
  • Applying this knowledge to the design and construction of novel plant expression platforms, suitable for molecular farming.
  • Testing novel expression systems in crop plants and carrying out downstream protein analytics.
  • Working closely with the CSIRO Future Protein Mission and the Future Crops impact team to apply the platform technology to relevant high value protein targets

Location:  Black Mountain, Canberra
Salary: AU$89k - AU$98k plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure: Specified term of 3 years
Reference: 88885

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as plant molecular biology, synthetic biology, metabolic engineering. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or full-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Expertise in molecular genetics and synthetic biology.
  • 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.
  • A sound history of publication in peer reviewed journals and/or authorship of scientific papers, reports, grant applications or patents.

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

To enter a CSIRO site, CSIRO will require you to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (or show a valid medical exemption from vaccination). If you are unable to meet this requirement, then you must return a negative result on a Rapid Antigen Test (within 48 hours prior to attending site) and wear a face mask whilst on the CSIRO site. These requirements apply if you are attending a CSIRO site as part of a recruitment process.

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

2 November 2022, 11:00pm AEDT

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