First listed on: 17 June 2020

CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Optimising Biodegradation of Plastics

The Opportunity
  • Are you an early career scientist with an interest in enzyme engineering?
  • Use your science skills to help solve the problem of plastic debris 
  • Join CSIRO and kick start your research career!

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.

In this position, you will work with a diverse range of scientists across CSIRO’s Manufacturing, Data61 and Land & Water business units to help address the problem of plastic waste management and pollution of waterways by microplastics. This is a big challenge due to the chemical stability of the polymers, the complexity of the materials and the scattered pollution sources.

Using your molecular biology and experimental design skills, you will investigate biotechnological solutions to these issues through the design and development of novel enzymes capable of degrading plastic materials. You will engineer poly(ethyleneterephthalate) (PET) esterase enzymes to create a pool of novel enzymes for use in a versatile range of applications from large scale industrial biodegradation of PET material to low temperature activity against high-crystalline PET.

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. 
  • Designing of PETase enzymes with increased activity, thermal stability and hc-PET substrate specificity. 
  • Developing and testing high throughput activity assays and mutant screening strategies. 
  • Managing, visualising and statistical analysis of complex data.
  • Interacting productively with a diverse multidisciplinary, multi-institutional team.

Location: Melbourne VIC
Salary: AU$86k - AU$94k plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure: Specified term of 3 years
Reference: 67324

To be considered you will need:
  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as biochemistry, biophysics, chemistry, biology or physics. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or part-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Demonstrated capability in enzyme engineering, molecular biology, biophysics and protein characterisation. 
  • Demonstrated experience in experimental design and management, visualisation and statistical analysis of complex data.
  • Proven ability to foster productive and inclusive interactions with colleagues from diverse backgrounds.
  • High-level communication skills including the ability to present research outcomes at national and international conferences.
  • A sound publication record in peer reviewed journals and/or authorship of scientific papers or reports.

For full details about this role please view the Position Description


The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check or equivalent and be able to commence in late 2020/ early 2021.

Applicants must be Australian/New Zealand citizens, Australian permanent residents or Australian temporary residents currently residing in Australia.

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

Diversity and Inclusion

We are working hard to recruit diverse people and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people.


At CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology.

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 August 2020, 11:00pm AEST

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