CSIRO Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship in Soil Carbon Turnover

Date Posted: 23 Nov 2023

Location: Adelaide, SA, AU

Company: CSIRO

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

Child Safety

CSIRO is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people involved in our activities and programs. View our Child Safe Policy.

The Opportunity

  • Do you have a PhD in Agricultural/Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering or Soil Science?
  • Investigate different types of soil carbon stabilizations and how they affect soil carbon turnover time
  • Join the CSIRO Agriculture and Food Sustainability Program with exciting opportunities to partner with multiple other CSIRO Initiatives


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 new CSIRO Agriculture & Food Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme. The word Winanga-y (pronounced win-na-gnay) is a cultural asset gifted by the Gomeroi Nation in Myall Vale to CSIRO's Agriculture and Food Business Unit to name the Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme. Winanga-y means to understand, know, remember, and think.


The CERC Fellow will design and conduct laboratory experiments using stable isotope and biomarker techniques to trace carbon and other elements through soil pools. The CERC Fellow will then integrate these findings into a carbon modelling framework. Overall, the project's objective is to comprehend the drivers, permanence within the system, and CO2 emissions associated with microbial- versus plant-derived carbon stabilisation in soil using analytical and numerical experiments. 

The CERC Fellow will have access in-house and via established collaboration to novel techniques (isotopically-resolved biomarker analysis), facilities, and datasets, and will formulate hypotheses and experiments to leverage this unique combination of resources. These will be integrated via cutting-edge modelling frameworks for a more comprehensive approach.

This position is embedded in the CSIRO Agriculture and Food Sustainability Program with national and international collaborations. In addition, the CERC Fellow will have the opportunity to partner with other CSIRO initiatives such as the Towards Net Zero Emissions Mission and the Valuing Sustainability Future Science Platform.


Your duties will include:

  • Examining existing and novel approaches to measure different soil organic carbon stabilisation pathways.
  • Integrating the new knowledge into process-based models, including numerical calibration and model testing.
  • Estimating the overall impacts of different soil organic carbon stabilization on GHG emissions, carbon sequestration rate, and its permanency in the environment. 
  • Carrying out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO that will, where possible, lead to novel and important scientific outcomes.


Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Salary: AU$92k - AU$101k plus up to 15.4% superannuation

Tenure: Specified term of 3 years

Reference: 94845


To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as Agricultural/Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering or Soil Science. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (full-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Demonstrated hands-on experience in the development, use and trouble-shooting / maintenance of isotope ratio mass spectrometry and gas chromatography instrumentation.
  • Demonstrated programming skills in one or more scientific coding languages including (but not limited to) Python, R, and MATLAB, and sound knowledge of modern data management practices to ensure reproducibility and traceability of research such as the deposition of data in publicly available repositories and the use of version control systems.
  • Knowledge of, or clear evidence of a willingness to develop, a skillset in the modelling of terrestrial carbon and nutrient flows, including adapting existing models such as RothC, Century or APSIM.
  • A sound history of publication in quality, peer reviewed journals.


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 you must either hold, or be able to obtain, a valid working visa for the duration of the specified term. Appointment to this role is subject to provision of a national police check and may be subject to other security/medical/character requirements.


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. 

CSIRO is committed to values-based leadership to inspire performance and unlock the potential of our people.

CSIRO is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people involved in our activities and programs, whether we are undertaking research, engaging with the public or nurturing future scientists in person or online. Source – CSIRO Child Safe policy 2023

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 January 2024, 11:00pm AEDT

11:00 PM

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