Research Associate (Soil Scientist / Molecular Ecologist)

Updated: 4 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 08 Jun 2023

  • Fixed term 24 months and full time appointment
  • Research intensive position with a start date as soon as possible
  • Salary range: Level A $74,236 - $99,905 p.a. plus 17% superannuation (appointment level will be dependent on qualifications and experience)

UWA School of Agriculture and Environment

The University of Western Australia (UWA) is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world and a member of the prestigious Australian Group of Eight research intensive universities. With a strong research track record, vibrant campus and working environments, supported by the freedom to innovate and inspire, there is no better time to join Western Australia’s top university.

About the team

The UWA School of Agriculture and Environment is located in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Surrounded by a wealth of agricultural, natural and mining resources, our location allows us to produce innovative research with worldwide application. We have a strong track record in PhD supervision and external research grant success. The Australian Research Council rated Agricultural Science at UWA as 'above world standards' and Environmental Science at UWA as 'well above world standards' during the most recent Excellence in Research Australia assessment.

About the opportunity

You will be providing research services to project leaders and contributing to outputs in accordance with contracted requirements. Working under the supervision of Dr Sasha Jenkins and Emerita Professor Lynette Abbott, you will contribute to the delivery of the project “Soil biological mechanisms underpinning the effects of biological amendments on soil health, productivity and resilience”. This project is a multidisciplinary project being led by The University of Western Australia, and funded by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (previously ‘Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’).

You will be working with Dr Sasha Jenkins, Dr Bede Mickan, Emerita Professor Lynette Abbott, and Professor Nanthi Bolan, and collaborating with other scientists within the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment and nationally.

To be considered for this role, you will meet the following criteria:

  • PhD qualification (or near completion) in Soil Science, or Molecular Ecology
  • Demonstrated proficiency in a select range of computing skills including molecular DNA analysis using bioinformatic software (QIIME, or Mothur) of bacterial and fungal sequence data, and generating in-silico functional gene prediction (PICRUSt2, Tax4fun, etc)
  • Expertise in ecological statistics and analysis (especially using R or Python), and preferably structural equation modelling
  • Demonstrated independent research skills, as evidenced by relevant publications and/or scientific reports
  • Experience in running soil incubations, plant growth experiments in the glasshouse, as well as experience with basic soil chemistry analysis, soil DNA extraction and preferably barcoded PCR preparations of DNA libraries ready for sequencing
  • Demonstrated knowledge of molecular ecology in relation to soil nutrient cycling
  • Highly developed and effective interpersonal and written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work independently, show initiative, problem solve and work collaboratively as part of a diverse team

About you

You are a soil scientist or a molecular ecologist with knowledge of nutrient cycling. You will have experience in analysing molecular data frames for integrating relationships between dynamic soil processes in relation to soil bacteria and fungi. You will be proficient in a soil laboratory and DNA laboratory environments, and have a positive can do attitude.

You will also possess excellent interpersonal and written and verbal communication skills with demonstrated ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a multidisciplinary team.

Full details of the position's responsibilities and the selection criteria are outlined in the position description:  Research Associate (Soil Scientist or Molecular Ecologist) 514353.pdf

For more information regarding the position or a confidential discussion, please contact Dr Sasha Jenkins, email:

Closing date: Wednesday, 08 June 2023

This position is only open to applicants with relevant rights to work in Australia.

Application Details: Please apply online via the Apply Now button.

Our commitment to inclusion and diversity

UWA is committed to a diverse workforce and an equitable and inclusive workplace.  We celebrate difference and believe diversity is fundamental to achieving our goals as a globally recognised Top 100 educational and research institution.  We are committed to creating a safe work environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, the LGBTIQA+ community and people living with disability.

  • We have a globally competitive, gender neutral parental leave policy with 26 weeks paid leave after 12 months service and 36 weeks after 5 years.
  • We have on-campus childcare facilities for child 6 weeks to kindy.
  • We facilitate flexible working, with part-time and job-sharing arrangements considered.
  • We have an ongoing partnership with Pride in Diversity and were recently awarded a Bronze Employer status for LGBTIQA+ inclusion.
  • We have Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation and actively work to improve gender equity. 

Should you have any queries relating to your application, please contact the individual named in the advertisement. Alternatively, contact the Talent team at with details of your query. To enable a quick response, please include the 6-digit job reference number and a member of the team will respond

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