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Postdoctor in Microbiomes for Enhancing Food Systems


The Opportunity

  • Do you have a PhD in a relevant discipline area, such as microbiology or microbial genomics?
  • Exciting opportunity to focus on food chain impacts on the microbiome of fresh produce
  • 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 position will be part of the Microbiomes for One Systems Health – Future Science Platform (FSP). CSIRO FSPs address new scientific challenges for Australia.

The Microbiome Future Science Platform (FSP) is developing new understanding of microbiome connectivity across the environment to human continuum and how system perturbations impact on microbiome functionality, diversity and systems health.  A key objective is to capture greater benefit from microbiome interactions through more informative and predictive frameworks for functionality and by targeted interventions. Capacity to directly manipulate microbiomes across hosts and environments will provide new opportunities for bio-based solutions to be developed and applied to improve host and environmental health and for increased benefit to plants, animals and humans.

The portfolio of research within the Microbiome FSP is focussed around new science that address; systems connectivity,  predictive frameworks and deliberate Interventions through the application of multi-omic tools to analyse point and system level change and associated measures of functionality both within and across interconnected biomes. This includes integration and analysis of multi-layered data and use of empirical and/or statistical modelling.  The science portfolio of the FSP spans multiple CSIRO Business Units that address key focal areas that include; i) Environment, Soil & Plant Health, ii) Food Chain & Production ii) Diet, Gut and Health and iv) Optimized Industry & Urban Processes.

As part of a broader food system microbiome project team, this is an exciting opportunity for a CERC Postdoctoral Fellow to focus on how food chain factors (e.g. production, harvest, washing, packing, storage conditions etc) impact on the microbiome of fresh produce. They will also look at developing interventions to produce the ‘ideal microbiome’ for promoting the safety and shelf life of fresh produce. The Fellow will work across the food chain and with other CERC Postdoctoral Fellows looking at the interconnectivity from the phyllosphere microbiome through to human gut microbiomes. This will include working with other researchers to understand through chain microbiome dynamics, develop food microbiome model systems through experimentation with “designer” communities and provide input into simulated microbiome models. The Fellow will also support activities focussed on understanding microbiome interactions and impacts of food structure and functionality on the human gut microbiome and explore the connectivity across the environment-food-gut system continuum. Outputs will lead to the development of food system interventions and microbiome manipulation to improve food system assurance and public health benefits.

Your duties will include:

  • Designing and performing experiments to investigate food chain system impacts (e.g. production, harvest, washing, packing, storage conditions etc) on the microbiome of plant based foods using multi-omics approaches.
  • Identifying the ‘ideal food microbiome’ for promoting the safety and shelf life of the plant-based foods. These learnings will inform the design of project work elsewhere in the FSP; for example, to better understand the effect of processing and food structure on the ideal food microbiome’s viability and delivery upon consumption, and the nexus between the food, the human gut microbiome, and the resulting health outcomes.
  • Identifying opportunities for food system interventions and microbiome manipulation to improve assurance and public health benefits
  • Contribute to supervising postgraduate students.
  • Contribute to the collection of samples or materials, requiring the use of a CSIRO vehicle.
  • Working with hazardous chemicals and biologicals in a laboratory environment.
  • Maintaining confidentiality of sensitive data.
  • Carry out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO that will, where possible, lead to novel and important scientific outcomes.
  • Utilise design thinking methodology to plan and prepare research proposals, and apply impact methodology to research projects.

Location: Brisbane, QLD

Salary: AU$88k – AU$96k plus up to 15.4% superannuation

Tenure: Specified term of 3 years

Reference: 76442

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as microbiology, microbial genomics, molecular biology, microbial ecology, host-microbe interactions or food microbiology. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or part-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • A current Australian Driver’s licence.
  • Experience in designing, conducting, analysing and reporting microbiome experiments, including experience with a variety of omics and bioinformatic approaches to analyse microbiome data.
  • 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

Fully Funded Scholarships for International Students to Work and Study Abroad


To be eligible for this role you must be an Australian/New Zealand Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or Australian temporary resident currently residing in Australia (visa sponsorship may be provided to eligible onshore candidates).

To be appointed to this CERC Postdoctoral Fellowship role, the successful candidate will be expected to commence employment 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

20 September 2021, 11:00pm AEST

Apply now »

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