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Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Arc Training Centre For The Transformation Of Australia’s Biosolids Resource (1.0 Fte)

RMIT University - Melbourne, VIC

Education, Childcare & Training
Source: uWorkin


Full Job Description
Job no: 595486
Work type: Full time - Fixed term/Contract
Categories: Research, Science

Full-time (1.0FTE), 3 year fixed-term contract based at RMIT Bundoora campus but will be required to work at Partner Industry locations
Opportunity to conduct competitive research in the laboratory of Distinguished Professor Andrew Ball at the School of Science, RMIT University (Bundoora campus)
Be part of a multidisciplinary team utilising advanced microbial technologies together with pioneering approaches that combine bioanalytical tools and advanced mass spectrometry techniques to investigate which microbiological processes directly impact the properties of the biosolids during anaerobic digestion or products from the advanced transformation of biosolids
Report directly to the Project Chief Investigators
Remuneration for Academic Level A8 ($93,569) + 17% superannuation

About us

RMIT is a multi-sector university of technology, design and enterprise with more than 91,000 students and 11,000 staff globally. RMIT offers postgraduate, undergraduate, vocational education and online programs to provide students with a variety of work-relevant pathways.

Our purpose is to offer life-changing experiences for our students, and to help shape the world with research, innovation, teaching and industry engagement. With strong industry connections forged over 130 years, collaboration with industry remains integral to RMIT’s leadership in education, applied and innovative research, and to the development of highly skilled, globally focused graduates.


Our Values inspire us, wherever we are in the world, and guide how we live and work together.

Imagination. Agility. Courage. Passion. Impact. Inclusion.

What unites us is our purpose and our values; they are at the heart of who we are, what we stand for, how we make decisions and connect with each other.

Our people make everything at the University possible. We encourage new approaches to work and learning, stimulating change to drive positive impact. RMIT exists to create transformative experiences for our students, getting them ready for life and work. You will be a part of a productive and collaborative team, who values working relationships and outcomes through open and inclusive planning, continuous information sharing and transparent work practices.

About the ARC Training Centre for the Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resource

This Centre brings together Australia’s leading biosolids researchers and key industry and government stakeholders to advance the management, transformation and reuse of biosolids. The focus is: (i) capability and knowledge building, (ii) research development, extension and training, and (iii) sustainable strategic partnerships. The expected outcomes of the Centre are to develop a group of new, highly-trained industry-ready researchers as well as advanced solutions in three major themes: (i) improved technologies, (ii) enhanced products, and (iii) sustainability. This will provide significant benefits in the economic value of new applications and market opportunities as well as deliver cost-savings - all in an environmentally friendly manner.

To transform Australia’s biosolids resources, the vision and overarching goal of the ARC Training Centre for the Transformation of Australia's Biosolids Resource is to advance fundamental and translational biosolids research, resulting in both the high-quality interdisciplinary training of new, industry-ready researchers, and novel applications and new market opportunities for the Australian biosolids industry.

The specific aims of the Centre are:
Capacity and knowledge building: to build new knowledge and train the next generation of researchers/ practitioners capable of resolving multi-disciplinary issues associated with managing and reusing biosolids.
Integrated research and development: to implement a fully integrated, interdisciplinary five-year program of research, which will develop a range of cost-effective, sustainable, socially and environmentally viable solutions for biosolids management and reuse.
Sustainable strategic partnerships: to engage with key industry, government, and stakeholders to resolve emerging issues related to biosolids management and reuse.

This Centre brings together 13 of Australia’s leading biosolids researchers from 4 universities and 21 key industry and government stakeholders across Australia to advance the management, transformation and reuse of biosolids in agriculture. The vision of the Centre will be delivered through the following three themes:

Improving technologies: In this theme, we will be looking at improving existing wastewater treatment processes/technologies and current beneficial routes as well as investigating new alternative technologies to reduce biosolids volume and transform them into high-value products. Existing processes such as anaerobic digesters and advance treatment methods such as drying, thermal hydrolysis, pyrolysis, gasification and hydrothermal liquefaction will be studied in depth for benchmarking to realise their techno-commercial potential in different scenarios (i.e. urban versus regional water utilities).
Enhancing product applications: In this theme, we will investigate the transformation of biosolids into novel carbon based fertiliser/growing media/advance materials for its use in commercial farming systems (such as horticulture, agriculture and greenhouses) and non-farming systems (such as construction, energy, animal feed) to develop sustainable water treatment and farming systems by closing carbon and nutrient cycles.
Ensuring sustainability: This theme will consider a number of topics that are central to the successful implementation of improved management of biosolids or related products relevant to water and agriculture industries and environmental protection agencies (EPAs). These include facilitating an understanding of biosolids and tackling odour to improve community acceptance, developing national guidelines, developing a framework for evidence-based risk assessment of biosolids and its related products, and measuring public perception of the social and environmental benefits of biosolids transformation.

More information ARC Training Centre for the Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resource in this link.

About You and the Role

You will responsible for:
Assessing poor performance of anaerobic digestion during stabilisation of sewage sludge;
utilise genomic sequencing facilities at RMIT Microbial Life Laboratory and University of New South Wales include MiSeq, Iseq and Nanopore platforms. Samples will be provided as part of project activities to international digester sequencing efforts, including Microbes in Anaerobic Digesters (MiDAS) Aalborg;
Carrying out metabolomic analyses using various analytical chemistry and separation science with multi-dimensional gas and liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry and NMR and vibrational spectroscopy has been successfully used for the identification and quantification of key microbial metabolites;
Prepare and publish high quality articles in high impact journals in line RMIT’s intellectual property obligations set out in the primary contract for the projects;
Contribute 10% of your time to mentor & supervise undergraduate students and participate in learning program activities appropriate to areas of expertise as well as administrative functions related to the research project.


Mandatory: PhD in life sciences such as bioinformatics, microbiology, molecular biology or related discipline.

Hands-on experience with the development of molecular microbial ecology and contaminant analyses together with metabolomic methods;
Research experience in assessing the diversity and activity of bacterial communities and investigate the relationships among the bacterial communities;
Laboratory experience in genomic sequencing and analyses & the expertise in carrying out bacterial ecological network analyses

Preferred: Completion of the Essentials in Tertiary Teaching Practice program or equivalent (if the appointed candidate does not meet this requirement at time of appointment, they will be supported to complete this as a requirement to fulfil their probation).Note: Appointment to this position is subject to passing a Working with Children check.

Bring your whole self to work

We are better for our diversity. When we listen to those who are different to us, or challenge us, we grow stronger together. When we feel like we belong, we can achieve so much more. We respect each other, embrace our differences and build a sense of belonging in our team and beyond.

We are proud that our dedication to diversity has been recognized by a broad spectrum of external organizations. Visit our Linkedin Life pages to learn more and see some of our most recent wins.

To Apply

Please submit your resume and cover letter outlining your experience and achievements by clicking on the ‘’ link. Please note that a separate response to Key Selection Criteria as stated on the Position Description is required. For any enquiries regarding this role, please contact Distinguished Professor Andrew Ball, (andy.ball@rmit.edu.au ).

PD - 595486 - Postdoctoral Research Assistant, ARC Training Centre for the Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resource (1.0FTE).pdf

RMIT is a Disability Confident Recruitment Team and we are happy to adjust the recruitment process for your accessibility requirements. Please contact us at TalentSupport@rmit.edu.au telling us your preferred type of communication and we will be in touch as soon as possible to discuss your requirements.

Applications close Sunday 18th April 2021.

RMIT is an equal opportunity employer committed to being a child safe organisation. We are dedicated to attracting, retaining and developing our people regardless of gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and age. Applications are encouraged from all sectors of the community and we strongly encourage applications from the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community.

Please note that whilst we still accept applications from any persons interested in our roles, due to the impacts of COVID-19, we are currently prioritising applications from those with current working rights in Australia and who are not affected by travel restrictions. Please see the latest updates to Australia’s immigration and border arrangements during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/

Application close: 18 Apr 2021 11:55 PM AUS Eastern Standard Time

Melbourne, VIC

Education, Childcare & Training


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