First listed on: 11 September 2021

CSIRO Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellowship in Circular Nutrients and Plant Nutrition


The Opportunity

  • Do you have a PhD in agricultural science, environmental science, soil science, environmental, or biosystems engineering?
  • Conduct research addressing the need to develop a more circular nutrient economy for Australia
  • Work with agricultural scientists and waste treatment engineers on this exciting postdoctoral project

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 Traditional Owners from the Gomeroi Nation in Myall Vale to CSIRO’s Agriculture and Food business unit to name the new Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme. Winanga-y means to understand, know, remember, and think.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will address the need to develop a more circular nutrient economy for Australia. Recycling of nutrients (e.g. nitrogen, phosphorus) from urban and food processing waste streams back to agriculture can achieve improved economic and environmental outcomes for both urban and regional communities. The Postdoctoral Fellow will work with agricultural scientists and waste treatment engineers to develop and test products that may enable more effective and efficient recycling of nutrients from waste streams back to agriculture.

To enable the circular nutrient economy, agricultural researchers need to work with waste treatment engineers to develop processes that as produce recycled products that are part of an agricultural supply chain rather than end-of-line pollution controls. For this to happen, agricultural researchers need to work with waste treatment engineers to help them to understand growers’ needs, the logistical and supply limitations and the on-farm management issues within different farming systems that their products must fit within. Conversely, agriculture researchers need to fully understand the chemical, biological and physical properties of waste streams and the constraints that engineers must work within when treating these streams to recover value.

Your duties will include:

  • Scoping and analysing currently available products and processes that enable a circular nutrient economy; focus will be on identifying pathways and barriers to developing and adopting recycled nutrient products for agricultural systems 
  • Developing strategies to overcome current barriers to the use of circular nutrient products; working with both waste treatment engineers and farming systems scientists to consider the both waste treatment and on-farm needs.
  • Assessing promising commercially available or newly developed circular nutrient products for their impact on plant productivity, soil health and soil carbon sequestration; experimentation at the laboratory and/or field scale.
  • Employing or developing novel analytical methods such as pXRF, MIR, NIR to assess the quality of recycled nutrient products and the impact they have in soils.
  • Communicating results to both academic and industry audiences through presentations and scientific publications. 

Location: St Lucia, Queensland
Salary: AU$88k - AU$96k plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure: Specified term of 3 years
Reference: 74644

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 science, environmental science, soil science, environmental, or biosystems engineering. 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 driver’s licence.
  • Understanding/ knowledge/ experience in plant nutrition and nutrient cycling, crop modelling, soil science and/or waste engineering and management.
  • 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


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.

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

10 October 2021, 11:00pm AEDT

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